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Japanese Studies at the Graduate Level at UCLA


Within the past decade UCLA has significantly expanded its programs in Japanese studies. It now provides graduate students with a multi-faceted approach to Japan that includes language study, departmental specializations, and programmatic approaches that cut across departments. A distinguished faculty, an established Center for Japanese Studies, and one of the best libraries in the United States (which includes 165,000 volumes of Japanese materials), all serve to create a dynamic environment for students seeking to carry out advanced studies in the Japan field.

Fellowship Support

UCLA provides a variety of recruiting fellowships that are made available through individual departments. These usually range between $10,000 - $15,000, and are sometimes combined with Research and Teaching Assistantships to provide multi-year funding. In addition, students in advanced Japanese are eligible for Title VI (FLAS) Fellowships, which currently carry a stipend of $8,000 plus fees. Through the Center for Japanese Studies students are also eligible to apply for Sasakawa, Aratani, and Kawahara Fellowships, which goes up to $5,000. Special UC President's and Chancellor's Fellowships, with stipends of $14,000 annually for four years, are available on a campus-wide competitive basis.
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Japanese Language and Linguistics

The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures offers MA and PhD degrees in Japanese linguistics, based on a discourse-functional orientation. The program aims to provide students with both theoretical training in linguistic analysis of Japanese and experience in teaching Japanese as a foreign language. The courses offered by Shoichi Iwasaki, include Structure of Japanese, Survey of Functional Linguistics, Discourse analysis of Japanese narratives, Contrastive studies of Japanese with other Asian languages such as Korean, Chinese and Thai, and other topical seminars. Students are encouraged to take related courses offered by the Department of Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Anthropology and Sociology to develop their theoretical orientations. Ample Teaching Assistantships, which are available for qualified students, provide both financial assistance and first-hand experience in teaching and organizing language courses.

Literary and Hermeneutical Studies

The program in Japanese in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures combines rigorous training in language and textual analysis with a broad interdisciplinary approach to Japanese studies marked by a strong focus on issues of understanding in the process of cultural production. A varied curriculum enables students to master established critical methods and frameworks and to explore newer theoretical challenges in the fields of literature, cultural studies, hermeneutics, philosophy, and religion in all periods. Students will benefit from the broad interest and expertise of faculty members: Michael Marra's research explores the contribution of philology to a philosophical examination of medieval literary texts and the history of Japanese hermeneutics; Michael Bourdaghs pursues modern Japanese fiction and popular culture with a special emphasis on theories of interpretation including perspectives on gender, nationalism, and historical memory; Seiji Lippit's mastery of contemporary literary texts and his expertise in issues of aesthetics and mass culture in twentieth-century Japanese discourse make him a strong asset to students interested in questions of ideology and representation; William Bodiford combines traditional Buddhist and Zen studies with anthropological investigation of everyday life to elucidate how abstract doctrinal concepts find expression in patterns of worship, in institutional claims to authority, and in local religious cultures. Peter Lee, the pioneer of Korean studies in the Western world, supplements the program with unique depth in the comparative study of East Asian literature. A truly distinguished program in Chinese hermeneutics is available to students interested in issues of genealogy thanks to the presence of leading scholars such as Robert Buswell, Theodore Huters, Richard Strassberg, and Pauline Yu. Students will also benefit from an impressive array of talent and resources concentrated on the UCLA campus: related faculty in the Departments of Anthropology, Art History, History and Theater, as well as in the Comparative Literature and Folklore Program; an expanding film library and a preeminent East Asian Library collection with holdings of about 150,000 volumes on Japan, the fastest growing East Asian library in the U.S.

Historical Studies

The graduate program in history focuses on the intellectual, cultural, and social aspects of Japanese development during the Early-Modern and Modern periods. UCLA has greatly expanded its graduate offerings in Japanese History in the past decade and has assembled a distinguished faculty in the Japan field. Four historians provide a rich and varied perspective on Japanese development from 1600 to the present. Tokugawa intellectual and social history are covered by Herman Ooms, whose interests also include broad areas of critical theory and religion. The introduction of Western ideas in Meiji Japan as well as the social and cultural history of the Meiji period are the focus of Fred Notehelfer's work, while post World War II thought and culture, as well as the relationship of the study of modern Japanese history to social, cultural, and artistic theory are treated by William Marotti. Sharon Traweek's interests lie in the field of comparative scientific cultures as well as on the issues of gender and the history of science. Mariko Tamanoi, in the Department of Anthropology, focuses on historical anthropology with emphasis on Japanese colonialism. Thematic approaches that have strong clusters of supporting faculty at UCLA include agrarian history, historical sociology, the history of women, and the history of Asians in the United States. Students desiring to study China as well as Japan have the opportunity to work with a distinguished program in Chinese history which includes such scholars as, Kathryn Bernhardt, Benjamin A. Elman, Philip C.C. Huang and Richard von Glahn. Fields may be taken in Art History with Donald F. McCallum; Political Science with Michael Thies; and in Anthropology with Mariko Tamanoi. Through the USC-UCLA Joint Center in East Asian Studies, students can also avail themselves of the opportunity of taking courses with USC professors Gordon Berger (Taisho-Showa Political History), Peter Nosco (Tokugawa Intellectual History), and Roger Dingman (U.S.-Japanese Diplomatic History).

Art History

The graduate program in Japanese Art History at UCLA emphasizes the Buddhist tradition, from Asuka and Hakuho through the Edo period, in all media, including sculpture, paint, and architecture. This program is integrated with the offering in the Department of Art History in Indian, Southeast Asian, Chinese, and Korean art, and there are close connections with the Buddhist programs in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, as well as with the History Department.

Interested students should apply directly to the participating departments: Anthropology, Art History, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Dance, Economics, Geography, History, Music, Political Science, Sociology, or the UCLA School of Law.

Last modified: 09/21/2001

Call for Papers: 2012-13 Japan Studies Graduate Conference@UCLA

Critical Frameworks of Transmission in Japan and East Asia, October 26th, 2012
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