Bryn Mawr’s 360o program is a new interdisciplinary, multi-course, thematic experience now embedded in the century-old partnership between Bryn Mawr and Tsuda. The 360o program offers clusters of 2-3 courses that focus on a common problem or theme – interweaving different disciplinary perspectives to achieve big-picture thinking. Of the 19 clusters offered since the program began in 2010, three have focused on Japan, and two have included a study trip to Japan (done in the middle of the semester). One of these clusters combined East Asian Studies, Art History, and the Cities program to examine disasters and rebuilding in Japan, including the earthquake depicted below.
View more general information on the 360o program
The information that follows includes:
- History of the Bryn Mawr College – Tsuda College relationship
- Description of the 360o Cluster: Perspectives on Sustainability – Disasters and Rebuilding in Japan
History of the Bryn Mawr College – Tsuda College relationship
Umeko Tsuda was only six years old when she was sent to learn about the role and education of women in the United States as part of the Iwakura Mission. After attending Bryn Mawr College from 1889-92, she returned to Japan, where she founded what was to become Tsuda College. Bryn Mawr and Tsuda have had a close relationship since that time, with two Tsuda presidents attending Bryn Mawr, and Bryn Mawr students sending money to rebuild Tsuda after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the devastation of Tokyo during World War II (when they also send funds to Hiroshima University). Tsuda and Bryn Mawr have maintained an exchange student relationship ever since. The close relationship between Tsuda and Japan also spread to Bryn Mawr’s nearby partner institutions, Swarthmore College and Haverford College. View a of this evolving relationship.
In 2010 Bryn Mawr began its interdisciplinary, multi-course 360o program, which offers clusters of multiple courses connecting students and faculty in a single semester to focus on common problems, themes, and experiences – interweaving different disciplinary perspectives to achieve big-picture thinking. Of the 19 clusters that have been offered thus far, three have focused on Japan, and two have included a study trip to Japan as part of the cluster (done in the middle of the semester).
In 2013, one of Bryn Mawr’s 360o clusters was entitled Perspectives on Sustainability: Disasters and Rebuilding in Japan. The cluster included three courses (one each from Art History, East Asian Studies, and the Cities program). See detailed description below. The cluster was offered jointly with Swarthmore College. As a result of that cluster, two Bryn Mawr students became interested in continuing recovery efforts after the recent earthquake and tsunami. Tsuda College hosted them for the summer 2014 and assisted in their research on the topic. Among other things, this resulted in a presentation to students at Tsuda (see photograph) and an article in Nikkei Asian Review.
Description of the 360o Cluster: Perspectives on Sustainability — Disasters and Rebuilding in Japan
In light of the recent earthquake and tsunami and the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Northeastern Japan, questions about form and function of Japanese cities have come to the attention of the global public once again. We invite students to study the history of disaster rebuilding and the impact of the built environment on art and literature as part of broader networks of interactions both in East Asia and the West. This 360 is a set of three interlinked courses on the Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore campuses. In addition to the coursework, it provides students with volunteer, intern, and research opportunities in the Tohoku area.
Disasters and Rebuilding in Japan Courses:
Art History 035: Pictured Environments: Japanese Landscapes and Cityscapes
This course, taught by Tomoko Sakomura, examines how Japanese landscapes and cityscapes have been (re)constructed and (re)imagined in the pictorial field. Students explore historical and contemporary modes of pictorial representation and the role of artifacts in the production and conservation of cultural memory, as they navigate the relations between place, representation, and context with case studies from the past and the present.
Cities 304: Disaster, War, and Rebuilding in the Japanese City
Taught by Carola Hein. Natural and man-made disasters have destroyed Japanese cities regularly. Rebuilding generally ensued at a very rapid pace, often as a continuation of the past. Focusing on the period since the Meiji restoration of 1868, this course explores natural and human made destruction and consequent rebuilding up to the recent disaster in Fukushima. Through the story of disaster and rebuilding emerge different approaches to permanence and change, to urban livability and sustainability.
Japanese 035: Narratives of Disaster and Rebuilding in Japan
This course, taught by Will Gardner, explores documentary and fictional representations of the Japanese landscape and cityscape in crisis, and the relationship of narrative to issues of historical memory and cultural and social change, with special attention to the role of the March 2011 Northeastern Japan tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster as a catalyst for change in contemporary Japan.