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Linda White

Associate Professor of Japanese Studies, Chair

 work(802) 443-5680
 Tues 2:00pm-3:00pm and Wed 10:00am-12:00pm
 FIC 221

Linda White, Associate Professor in Japanese Studies, has been teaching at Middlebury in anthropology, gender studies, and Japanese studies since 2005. She earned her B.A. from Michigan State University, her M.A. in Asian Studies from Cornell, and her M.A. and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Colorado. She teaches courses that address contemporary issues in Japanese society, including globalization, body and culture, gender, and race and ethnicity. 

Her research focuses on Japanese feminist activism, intersections between gender, marriage, and family law, and attitudes about the body. White has spent seven years living in the Tokyo area. She has received grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the Japan Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council for ethnographic research on gender issues. She has published numerous articles on Japanese feminist activism and her most recent will be included in an upcoming special edition, The Family in East Asia, in the journal, positions. Her book, Gender and the Koseki in Contemporary Japan: Surname, Power, and Privilege, (Routledge 2018) analyzes feminist activism to change the Household Registration law in Japan. White's new research is an ethnographic study of understandings of race and ethnicity in Japanese society and the cultural and legal roots of race discrimination in the household registration system.

Professor White is Chair of Japanese Studies and Track Director for the IGS track in Gender and Sexuality. She works closely with Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies and has been a core member of the program since her arrival at Middlebury. For the past 4 years, White has worked closely with the Center for Community Engagement and the Middlebury School in Japan to help students from several different universities and colleges carry out oral histories with elders in a rural village in Nagano Prefecture.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1581 - Architectures of Intimacy      

Architectures of Intimacy: Family in Contemporary Japan
The Japanese terms for family, kazoku, and house, ie, both contain the same Chinese character, a pictogram that registers the connection between a family and the physical dwelling it inhabits. In this course, that connection will be a central framework through which we consider the changing conditions of intimacy and family in Japan since the mid-twentieth century. We will use fiction, film, legal documents, and ethnographic studies to examine the relationship between intimacy and home, architecture and family in a rapidly transforming sphere of Japanese society. CW NOA SOC

Fall 2021

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IGST 0704 - EAS Senior Thesis      

East Asian Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Winter 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022

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JAPN 0101 - First-Year Japanese      

First-Year Japanese
This course is an introduction to the modern Japanese language aimed at acquisition of the four basic skills speaking, listening comprehension, reading, and writing. The emphasis is on thorough mastery of the basic structures of Japanese through intensive oral-aural practice and extensive use of audiovisual materials. The two kana syllabaries and kanji (characters) will be introduced toward the goals of developing reading skills and reinforcing grammar and vocabulary acquisition. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. drill LNG

Fall 2017, Fall 2019

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JAPN 0102 - First-Year Japanese      

First-Year Japanese
This course is an intensive continuation of JAPN 0101. This course is required for those students wishing to take JAPN 0103 in the Spring. (JAPN 0101) LNG WTR

Winter 2018, Winter 2021

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JAPN 0103 - First-Year Japanese      

First-Year Japanese
This course is a continuation of the fall and winter terms with the introduction of more advanced grammatical structures, vocabulary, and characters. The continuing emphasis of the beginning Japanese course will be upon acquisition of well-balanced language skills based on an understanding of the actual use of the language in the Japanese sociocultural context. (JAPN 0101, JAPN 0102) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. drill LNG

Spring 2018

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JAPN 0110 / ANTH 0110 / SOAN 0110 - Current Social Issues in Japan      

Current Social Issues in Japan (in English)
In this course we will use ethnography, fiction, and historical studies to examine some of the underlying themes of Japanese culture. Japan is a highly developed, post-industrial society renowned across the globe for economic success in the post-World War II period. What historical and social factors have shaped Japan’s contemporary culture, and how have interactions with other countries influenced Japanese society? We will study a number of different spheres of Japanese life including the family and the workplace to better understand contemporary society. We will pay special attention to Japan’s global position and its relationship to the United States. 3 hr. lect./disc. (Anthropology) AAL NOA SOC

Fall 2017, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

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JAPN 0230 / ANTH 0230 - Rethinking the Body in Japan      

Rethinking the Body in Contemporary Japan (In English)
In this course we will examine attitudes toward and tensions related to the human body in Japan. Looking at art, music, style, and social issues we will examine the symbolic as well as material concerns of bodies in contemporary Japan. Religious, historical, martial, and aesthetic understandings of bodies will be addressed. We will analyze Japan's current attitudes toward organ transplantation, treatment of the deceased, plastic surgery, surrogacy, sex change surgery and other embodied practices. Readings will include Twice Dead and Commodifying Bodies. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL NOA SOC

Fall 2019, Spring 2021

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JAPN 0250 / GSFS 0250 - Gender In Japan      

Gender in Japan (in English)
In this course we will examine changing ideas about gender and sexuality in Japan in the 10th through 20th centuries, with special attention to the modern period. Sources will include literary texts, films, and social/historical studies. We will discuss topics, including women's writing in classical Japan; the commercialization of sexuality in the 18th century; ideas of "homosexuality" in late-medieval and modern times; and women's social roles and political struggles in the 20th century. 3 hr. lect./disc. AAL LIT NOA

Fall 2020

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JAPN 0280 - Making Sense of Race in Japan      

Making Sense of Race and Ethnicity in Japan
In this course we will examine and come to understand ideas about ethnicity and race in Japan using a critical historical approach. Probing the categorization of various groups in Japan provides insight into Japan’s diverse population and at the same time helps students see the historical and cultural specificities of racial categories across cultures. Students will read historical and contemporary texts on Korean Japanese, burakumin, new immigrants, and other groups, and examine both the development of these often-marginalized identity categories and the challenges faced by people considered “other” in Japan today. 3 hrs. lect. AAL CMP NOA SOC

Spring 2020, Spring 2022

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JAPN 0330 / ANTH 0330 - Global Japanese Culture      

Global Japanese Culture (in English)
In this course we will examine the transformation of Japanese cultural identity (Japanese-ness) as products, ideas, and people move across the borders in and out of Japan. Social scientists have been particularly interested in the Japanizing of non-Japanese practices and products such as hip hop and hamburgers, as well as the popularity of Japanese styles and products on the global scene. We will take an anthropological approach using texts such as Millennial Monsters, Remade in Japan, and Hip Hop Japan to examine the issues of cultural hybridity, identity, and globalization. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL CMP SOC

Spring 2022

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JAPN 0500 - Independent Project      

Qualified students may be permitted to undertake a special project in reading and research under the direction of a member of the department. Students should seek an advisor and submit a proposal to the department well in advance of registration for the term in which the work is to be undertaken.

Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

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JAPN 0700 - Honors Thesis      

Honors Thesis
Students write a thesis in English with a synopsis in Japanese on literature, film, or culture. The topic for the thesis is chosen in consultation with the instructor. (JAPN 0475)

Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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Department of Japanese Studies

Freeman International Center
203 Freeman Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753