Site Index

Current Year's Catalog 2005-06

Undergraduate Studies

A-Z Index

Programs for Freshmen

Culture, Text and Language

Environmental Studies

Expressive Arts

Native American and World Indigenous Peoples' Studies

Scientific Inquiry

Society, Politics, Behavior and Change

Tacoma Campus Programs

Evening and Weekend Studies

Evening and Weekend Class Listing

Summer Studies

Summer Class Listing

Graduate Studies

Master of Environmental Studies

Master of Public Administration

Master in Teaching



[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Japan Today: Studies of Japanese Language, History, Literature, Cinema and Culture
Jefferson's American West

Japan Today: Studies of Japanese Language, History, Literature, Cinema and Culture

Fall, Winter and Spring quarters

Harumi Moruzzi
Class Schedule
Class Standing:
Sophomores or above; transfer students welcome.
Faculty Signature:
No new students accepted winter and spring quarters.
Special Expenses:
Approximately $5,500 for an optional spring quarter trip to Japan. Only students enrolled in the program full-time are eligible for this trip.

Japan is a vital, energetic and dynamic society that is constantly reinventing itself even while struggling to maintain a semblance of cultural and social continuity from the long-lost past. Perhaps due to this very characteristic, Japan often presents itself to Westerners as paradoxical and enigmatic. For instance, a writer for The New Yorker described Japan as suffering from "the layers-of-the-onion problem" hinting at its perplexing complexities. Although the "layers-of-the-onion problem" is not necessarily confined to the problem of understanding Japan-indeed, most of the problem of knowledge may be rooted in the multi-faceted or multi-layered reality that seems to transform itself over time-such a pronouncement probably strikes many people as particularly applicable to their ideas concerning Japan. But precisely for this reason, Japan presents itself to an observer as a wonderfully complex subject for his/her intellectual engagement, ultimately shedding light upon an understanding of his/her own society and culture.

Japan Today is an interdisciplinary program that is devoted to the understanding of contemporary Japan, its culture and its people. This program combines a study of the Japanese language with a study of Japan through lectures, book and essay seminars, film seminars and workshops. In the film study component of the program, the students will be introduced to the basic film analytical terms in order to facilitate a more analytical/critical approach to the film viewing experience. In the language component of the program, two different levels of Japanese will be offered.

In the fall quarter, we will study Japan up to the end of American occupation. We will emphasize cultural legacies of the historical past. In the winter quarter, we will examine Japan after 1952. Special emphasis will be placed on the examination of contemporary Japanese pop culture. In the spring quarter, our students will have an opportunity to study Japanese language and culture first hand while staying in Japan. While in Japan each student is to conduct an individual or group research regarding contemporary Japanese society and its culture. Credit awarded in Japanese language, film studies, Japanese history and culture, Japanese literature, sociology and cultural studies.

Credit awarded in:
Japanese language, film studies, Japanese history and culture, Japanese literature, sociology and cultural studies.
16 credits each quarter.
A similar program is expected to be offered in:
Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in:
Japanese language and culture, cross-cultural understanding, cultural studies and international relations.

Program Updates

This program description has been revised. The changes include: a) Harumi will teach by herself, b) the enrollment limit has been lowered to 30 students, c) the faculty signature has been removed, and d) the program is offered for 16 credits each quarter. There will not be a four-credit Japanese language option for students who are not enrolled in the program.
No new students accepted winter and spring quarters.

Jefferson's American West

Spring quarter

Class Schedule
Class Standing:
This all-level program offers appropriate support for freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.
Special Expenses:
Approximately $200 for field trips; $20 for museum visits.

In this program students will explore the ways in which Thomas Jefferson laid the foundation for land-use patterns and social ideologies in the American West. We will study American history from roughly 1700 to 1850 to better understand the historical context of Jefferson's life and work. Our study of American history will encompass both cultural and natural history. As a learning community, we will travel a portion of the route covered by the Lewis and Clark expedition. During this required, multi-day field trip students will maintain a detailed natural history journal with special attention given to learning native plants. Students will have an opportunity to learn about tribal uses of plants and the land, including indigenous resource management of prairies. Students will also use their journals to record their observations of contemporary land use. We will take note of current expressions of people's sense of place and history in the West. Students will study the journals of Lewis and Clark expedition members as models. We will study these journals for their content based on natural history and anthropological observations, as well as records of their experiences of the journey. We will also study the state of science during this time period and how Jefferson and others instructed Lewis and Clark to use the sciences to advance their goals.

As a learning community, we will ponder the following questions: What motivated Jefferson to make the Louisiana Purchase? How did the culture and society of the 18th-century American backcountry shape Jefferson's vision of American territorial expansion? In what ways did he see settlement of the West as central to his visions of building a democratic nation? What role did the Lewis and Clark expedition play in Jefferson's grand plans for the West? What place, if any, did tribal people and other people of color have in Jefferson's expansion plans? To what extent did European intellectuals shape Jefferson's thoughts about Indians and governance? How did Jeffersonian ideals and philosophy shape the migration to and settlement of the early West in the first half of the 19th century? How does knowledge of this history inform our understanding of current land use and Western natural resource management? In what ways has this past shaped contemporary Westerners, their sense of self and sense of place?

Credit awarded in
American history, natural history and field botany.
16 credits.
Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in:
cultural history, natural history, teaching and environmental education.
This program is listed in:
Programs for Freshmen; Culture, Text and Language; and Environmental Studies.

Contact the Site Manager


Last Updated: August 25, 2017

The Evergreen State College

2700 Evergreen Parkway NW

Olympia, Washington 98505

(360) 867-6000