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. Everyday terms and concepts taken for granted in daily life ? from family and health to literature and politics ? frequently 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 case studies, coursework will encourage students to increase their understanding of socio-historical traditions that have shaped beliefs and attitudes toward ‘Japanese culture,’ while reflecting more deeply on their own culturally-constructed values.

Sample Course Titles:
  • Peoples of Japan
  • Popular Cultures
  • Film and Literature
  • Family and Modern Society
  • Sick Society
  • Cross-Cultural Experiences

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


Whenever people live together, there is politics; politics influences all lives. Based on political science, courses in this module examine how and why politics works in the way it does in various political communities, and how politics influences and is influenced by norms, beliefs, interests, political institutions, economics, society, history, and power relations. This module helps students understand both the complexity and the messiness of politics, and how to systematically analyze this complexity without oversimplifying it.

Sample Course Titles:
  • Comparative Politics
  • Japanese Politics
  • Politics and Gender
  • Populism
  • Democracy
  • Nation-State