For the first time in USC College history, a transnational American Studies and Ethnicity (ASE) course is being conducted in Japan as well as in Los Angeles -- and you're officially invited to hitch a ride during their travels.
Led by George Sanchez, professor of ASE and history, students, faculty and staff are sharing their stories and photos on their America in Japan blog (uscamericainjapan.wordpress.com). Along with Sanchez, also vice dean of College diversity, Lon Yuki Kurashige, associate professor of history and ASE in the College, two Ph.D. students and two Norman Topping Student Aid Fund (NTSAF) officials are advising the group of 13 USC undergraduates.
The intensive summer immersion program in Japan is supported by the College and NTSAF. The undergraduate course examines America’s relationship to the world through the lenses of the Pacific Rim cities Los Angeles and Tokyo. The course serves as an introduction to the cultural, political, economic, and social exchanges crucial to the United States-Japan relationship.
Students are studying the ethnic identity and nation formation, and technological advances that have led to Japan’s global prominence on the world market. They’re also looking at the importance of mutual trade between the two countries.
In early June, students explored Japan in Los Angeles. They visited the Toyota corporate headquarters, museums in Little Tokyo, and examined race and tourism at Disneyland, among other adventures chronicled in the blog.
Now, they are traveling Japan, exploring Tokyo, where among other experiences, they will visit “America Land” at Tokyo Disneyland. They will take a train to Hiroshima, where they will hear the tragic tales of atomic destruction. They’ll tour Koyoto and Doshisha universities and meet with Japanese students.
They will also explore life in industrial Nagoya, including commerce, manufacturing and baseball — a highly popular sport in Japan. The Nagoya Dome, which seats 40,500, serves as headquarters for the professional baseball team the Chunichi Dragons.
“There will be no shortage of new and interesting observations in this blog,” Sanchez promised. “So check in frequently to read about our new experiences, both locally in L.A. and more than 5,000 miles away in Japan.”