City and Society – Tokyo: Sophia University, Graduate School of Global Studies
This course examines the city as a signiﬁcant site for the elaboration of social and cultural patterns in Japan. The study of urban spaces and phenomena can yield powerful insights into culturally distinctive constructions of public and private; power and authority; social and economic structures; the natural and the artiﬁcial; history and memory; the real and the imaginary. The city is also a richly layered and continually shifting collective archive, in which embedded traces of the past are incorporated into projected futures in a continuous process of erasure and construction. And the city is a realm of vivid experience that ﬁnds artistic expression in literature, ﬁlm, architecture, photography and other arts, shaping interpretations of a present in which the urban has become the dominant frame for contemporary life. In this course, these multiple dimensions of the study of the city in Japan will be brought to bear upon the case of Tokyo. Using maps, plans, and photographs, we examine the physical layers of the city –-its landscapes, architectures, infrastructures, and technologies. The social and cultural dimensions of urban life and its experience are apprehended via literary, artistic, and cinematic representations. The course engages questions both general and speciﬁc, such as: What is the idea of the city in Japan? How has Tokyo grown and transformed over its history? What mappings relate Tokyo’s urban space to its social groups and cultural formations? How is the boundary between public and private conﬁgured in Tokyo’s urban space and how is it changing? In what ways is the remembered past (and the imagined future) made present in contemporary Tokyo? How do we position Tokyo in relation to Japan, to the region, tothe world?
Introduction to Architecture: Building, Dwelling, Thinking: Waseda University School of International Liberal Studies
Architecture, in the broadest sense, is a body of knowledge and set of practices concerned with the tangible manifestation of societies and cultures in built space. Buildings have traditionally constituted its core concern, but its range of enquiry and ﬁeld of operation extends to cities, landscapes, art, media, technology, and politics. This semester the Introduction to Architecture course will be conducted as a miniature design studio investigating the act of “dwelling”. The emphasis will be on hands-on learning through model-making. Theoretical reﬂection will also be called upon in considering what it means to “dwell”. Students will learn the fundamental elements of design thinking (eg: space and form, structure and material, order and proportion, perception and meaning) through designing, building, and presenting physical architectural models; as well as learning in detail several canonical works and their authors in the discipline of architecture. In addition to these speciﬁc knowledges, the design and construction of physical models develops various general capabilities (conceptualisation, spatial intelligence, sketching, logistics, construction, communication) and positive habits of mind (imagination, sensitivity, precision, anticipation, attentiveness, resourcefulness, patience) that are of lasting general value. It is also creative and (mostly) fun, although much more time consuming than you may think. Each student will work on two models over the course of the semester. The ﬁrst will be a canonical work of residential architecture drawn from the past 100 years, and will be executed in small groups. The second will be an original design for their ideal dwelling, to be undertaken individually. By the end of the course, students will not only know something about architecture, they will have discovered something about themselves.
Tokyo – Visible and Invisible: Waseda University School of International Liberal Studies
Tokyo is a city that invites description in paradoxical superlatives: vast yet intimate, crowded yet polite, chaotic yet controlled, ugly yet pristine. This course dives into these contradictions, exploring the spaces, histories, imaginaries and representations that combine to shape the ever-changing physical form of Tokyo and its ever-shifting collective portrait. Using maps, plans, and photographs, we examine the physical layers of the city – its landscapes, architectures, infrastructures, and technologies. The social and cultural dimensions of urban life and its experience are apprehended via literary, artistic, and cinematic representations. The course engages questions both general and speciﬁc: What is the idea of the city in Japan? How has Tokyo grown and transformed over its history? What circuits connect urban spaces, experiences, and their representations? How do we position Tokyo in relation to Japan, to the region, to the world? In what ways is the remembered past (and the imagined future) made present in contemporary Tokyo? The course is organized along broadly chronological lines. After an introductory lecture, a series of ﬁve lectures focuses on the spaces and cultures of Edo; the remainder examine the transformations of the city and its representations since Meiji under successive waves of development, destruction, and restructuring. The course closes with an examination of the processes by which the city is being “rescripted” under contemporary conditions of globalization and mediation.
Urban Studies: Public Space and the City: Waseda University School of International Liberal Studies
The concept of ‘public space’ is a broad and evolving idea, ﬁrst developed in the mid-20th century, that seeks to address the interaction between the political and spatial dimensions of human experience. It is employed across a range of disciplines, including architecture, urban geography and anthropology, media and cultural studies, political philosophy and certain branches of history. This course explores and develops this idea by considering the connections between the physical spaces of the city and the formation of particular experiences, discourses, and communities. It takes up questions such as: What does it mean for a space to be ‘public’? How are such spaces experienced and what is the signiﬁcance of this experience? How is this connected to understandings of the city? What transformations are occurring in the constitution and experience of such spaces, and for the cities that they form part of? The treatment is divided into two parts. The ﬁrst part is broadly historical. Here we consider the work of a selection of key writers in the development of the discourse on public space – Arendt, Sennett, Habermas, Simmel, Benjamin, Jacobs, Lefebvre and Debord – and the urban spaces and places that have formed the touchstones for their thinking. This sequence is arranged roughly chronologically in terms of the places considered, ranging from ancient Athens to mid-20th Century Manhattan. The second part considers a range of contemporary perspectives on public space and cities, including consumption, simulacra, exclusion, mobility, transit and connectivity. These invite a consideration of directions for further development of the concept.