course
Millennial Futures: Culture in Japan

Sep 2014

I am reviewing this class because it is being taught but the reviews are old. Ivy has a very specific kind of personality - she isn't very kind and does not hold back on harsh criticism in class. She's fine if you stay on her good side. but a couple times in class she openly criticized a student for not knowing something, and told a girl who never talked in class that she would WAIT until she said something... she gave us a syllabus but it did not have percentages of components!!! she never revealed to us the percentages! There are occasional (literally on her whim - it could be three or four weeks in a row, though she said once every other week) response papers to the readings. she said she wanted them to be one full page 10 pt font.... she grades these not generously. I did well but other people didn't do well who I had assumed would do well... Final paper was 12-15 pages. Had no idea how much it counted... she assigned a TON of reading. some of it was kind of useless - we had to read two or three novels that were just bleh. waste of my time and money. she had us buy a lot of books, some of which I didn't value at all, some of which I found educational and doable. There are also pdf's online which are a pain to read, although the topic may (or may not) be interesting. It's kind of a hit or miss, though mostly it's interesting. she also assigned films to watch, which was the BEST PART. I loved her choice of films and we had great discussions about it. She is clearly very smart, but the way she lectures is not completely coherent... she's kind of a harsh grader...or at least she has high expectations. I did a lot of participation and got great grades on the weekly response papers, but ended up getting a b+ on the final paper. oh well.

May 2005

Professor Ivy is wonderful. This anthropology course on post-WWII Japan was not only extremely interesting, but also very current. It is one of the rare "hip" anthropology courses that engages in discussions of recent cultural trends in Japan such as anime, otaku culture, manga, the Superflat aesthetic, and the Aum cult. After taking this course, you will think of Japan, America, and commodities differently. You might also become very interested in postmodern theorists such as Jameson and Baidrillard, and the novelist Haruki Murakami. We read many Japanese theorists as well. In the meantime, check out the "Little Boy" exhibit at the Japan Society to introduce yourself to some of the visually- related topics covered in this course. Ivy is a real scholar and does not waste her time trying to butter-up to her students. Instead, she inspires thoughtful writing and analysis of contemporary culture. However, it is a pleasure to listen to her vast amount of knowledge and to occasionlly participate in discussion. In addition, Ivy herself is a wonderful writer.

Dec 2003

She's a good professor, if you understand that no, she's not listening to you. She has has a nice taste in anime (which she insists on calling 'hanime-eh') Really interesting texts (but accompanied with garbage po-mo theoretics) Great 4-point course overall.