Tokyo: Japanese Society and Design Thinking (EASC 360)

*Undergraduate applicants only, graduate students are not eligible*



Program Information

Global East Asia (GEA) is a four-week upper-division Maymester research course with a study abroad component for undergraduate students, made possible by the East Asian Studies Center and USC Dornsife. This intensive program gives students the opportunity to travel and conduct research in Japan. Students from all majors, schools and language backgrounds are eligible to apply and experience East Asia in a unique way.

This course examines contemporary Japanese design beyond the material culture of the everyday, reframing it as a form of social engagement that exists across various media and disciplines. We will explore, from a transdisciplinary perspective, the ways in which the practice of design engages with social problems and contributes to social transformation. From interior furnishings to exterior landscapes, spanning real and virtual environments, design plays a significant role in the creation of national infrastructure. Specific attention will be paid to the global dimensions of Japanese design and its transnational migration, adaptation, and instances of exchange and collaboration that have emerged between Japan and our locale, Los Angeles, by surveying a selection of design practices. The course will run for four weeks. Approximately one half of that time will be spent in Los Angeles and include visits to museums and galleries, businesses, Japan House-LA, gardens and other cultural venues that feature iterations of Japanese design and half of that time will be in Japan doing fieldwork.

Contact Information

Faculty Director: Miya Elise Desjardins

Department Administrator: East Asian Studies Center