Film and Media Studies Library Guide
Japanese @ Swarthmore

Jpns 074/ Litr 074J

Swarthmore College

Spring 2007

Professor Will Gardner


Japanese popular culture products such as manga (comics), anime (animation), television, film, and popular music are an increasingly vital element of Twenty-First Century global culture, attracting ardent fans around the world. In this course we will critically examine the postwar development of Japanese popular culture, together with the proliferation of new media that have accelerated the global diffusion of popular cultural forms.

Engaging with theoretical ideas and debates regarding popular culture and media, we will discuss the significance of fan cultures, including the “otaku” phenomenon in Japan and the United States, and consider how national identity and ethnicity impact the production and consumption of popular cultural products.

We will also explore representations of technology in creative works, and consider the global and the local aspects of technological innovations, including the internet, mobile phones, and other portable technology. Readings and discussion will be in English. The course will be conducted in a seminar format with student research and presentations comprising an important element of the class. Previous coursework in Japanese studies or media studies is recommended but not required.