Cultural Diversity and Communities

Anthropology/Sociology/Political Science

Global connections produce encounters with unfamiliar beliefs, customs and environment, but experiences of difference and “otherness” also exist within each of our own culture. By studying concepts and methods in anthropology, sociology, and political science, students will examine how today’s local challenges are embedded in the global context, and how locality can be the ground for social changes with global significance. The modules in this cluster include: (1)Japan and Beyond, (2)Migrations and Communities, (3)Environment and Health, and (4)Governance.

Japan and Beyond

This module explores the multi-layered connections between peoples and communities within and beyond Japan’s borders. Through anthropological lense, everyday terms and concepts take on new meanings in intercultural contexts. The familiar may suddenly become unfamiliar, or something familiar may be discovered in the unfamiliar. Through comparative analysis and self-reflexivity, coursework will encourage students to increase their understanding of socio-historical traditions and challenge their beliefs. Students are encouraged to find similarities between case studies and their own lives. There are many cultural groups in Japan. What we often call “Japanese culture” is never singular or static.  

Sample Course Titles:
  • Feminist Ethnic Studies
  • Korean Diaspora
  • Topics in Japan and Beyond I and II
  • Colonialism and War
  • Cultural Anthropology 
  • Sex Work and Emotional Labor

Migration and Communities

The increased mobility of people and things across international borders is changing the ways we think about the state, communities, and individuals. This interconnectedness, aided by technology, has created opportunities for individuals and organizations, as well as new and recurring forms of inequality and conflict on a global scale. These changes also manifest in our every day lives through the legal system, mass media, school and work place, and even arts. Topics in this module include demography, group dynamics, inequality, race and ethnicity, class, and gender.

Sample Course Titles:
  • Contemporary Migration in Global Perspective
  • Globalization and International Development
  • Korean Diaspora
  • Ethnicity, Sexuality, and Class
  • Gender in Global Context
  • Trauma and Community

Environment and Health

Global movements of humans and goods also contribute to movements of viruses, pollution, and industrial waste. Threat of global pandemic, climate change, and resource depletion connect us all through the shared fate of the “globe.” What are the implications of a heightened awareness of the “global” on local environmental and health practices? Courses in this module explore how local sufferings sometimes have global origins and significances. Topics covered in this module include aging, energy, environmental movements, epidemics, mental health, stigma and trauma.

Sample Course Titles:
  • Energy and Society
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Migration and Health
  • Environmental Catastrophe and Justice
  • Science, Law and Culture
  • Body and Mind


When people live together, there is always politics, and politics affects all lives. Drawing on political science, the course in this module examines how politics works in different political communities and how different factors such as norms, beliefs, interests, political institutions, economics, society, and history affect and are affected by politics. This module helps students understand the complexity of politics and learn how to analyze it systematically.

Sample Course Titles:
  • Introduction to Political Science
  • Comparative Politics
  • International Politics
  • Japanese Politics
  • Topics in Political Science