In summer 2016 I taught a two-unit course on the history of Japanese popular culture from 1945-2011 at the University of California, Berkeley. The course description read:
Over the past three decades, Japanese popular culture and its most famous products and characters have become familiar worldwide. This course looks at the history of Japanese popular culture since 1945 and explores how the pillars of the Japanese “contents industry”–manga, anime, video games, and light novels–came to play their current central role in the Japanese media ecosystem and global pop culture. We will consider a wide range of topics including fan cultures, modes of capitalism, manga and anime production, Pokémon and gaming, and the media mix in order to question the work that pop culture does in society to make it popular. We will also watch and read historically significant examples of these media as part of the course.
In spring 2016 I taught a survey course on the history of Japan at San Francisco State University. The syllabus is available online thanks to the History Department. The course description read:
This course offers an introduction to Japanese history from prehistory to approximately 2011 CE. A world historical backwater, Japan rose to world prominence by the end of the 19thC and enjoyed the dubious distinction of being the only Asian colonial power before the fall of its empire in 1945. Today, people worldwide are familiar with elements of Japanese popular culture such as anime, video games, and Pokémon even as the Japanese economy has struggled and the birth rate has plummeted. This course seeks to explicate Japan’s remarkable transformation into a global power and centers around several key themes including culture, society and governance, and gender. By the end, students will be familiar with the basic outline of Japanese history, be able to place that outline in a global context, and understand how some popular images of Japan and/or Japanese history are inaccurate, overstated, or otherwise questionable.
At the University of California, Berkeley, I served as a Graduate Student Instructor for the following courses:
- Spring 2014: “The Craft of History,” Prof. Mark Peterson.
- Fall 2012: “The History and Practice of Human Rights,” Prof. Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann.
- Spring 2012: “Comparative Empires,” Profs. Andrew Barshay & Carlos Noreña.
- Fall 2011: “The History and Practice of Human Rights,” Prof. Thomas Laqueur.