Cultural History of Japanese Monsters

May 2005

This is the sort of class where you'll get out of it exactly what you put in. The material is absolutely fascinating; readings come from every discipline, from psychology to art history to ancient Japanese folk tales. The class itself was a similar mix, including several EALAC majors, but also students from neuroscience, political science, math, and history. Professor Pflugfelder is also incredibly interested in the subject matter; he once told us, "I can't believe I get paid to do this," and that sort of enthusiasm makes for a more interesting class. That being said, he's also incredibly lazy, so you won't get much feedback on your work, and more than a couple classes wound up being substituted with outside lectures or panels he was speaking at, seemingly because he forgot about the schedule conflict until the last minute. On the one hand, the class is small enough that everyone will notice if you haven't done the reading; on the other hand, nobody seems to care very much. If you're looking for a class to coast through, there are much better ones to take, but if you're genuinely interested, then this class has the potential to do a lot for you.

Jan 2004

The best part about this course is it draws a really interesting mix of wonderfully geeky students. Discussions, while often off topic, were always thought-provoking and interesting. You'll learn about not only Japanese monsters, but also American and European monsters, and you'll find yourself dissecting your 80s childhood frequently. Overall a fun course. Only annoying thing is that Pflugfelder is really spacey. He tends to end class 10 minutes late on a regular basis - either that or 10 minutes early. He's very easy to talk into extensions or changing due dates, which can be a bad thing when you realize that he's pushed things so far back that they're all due at once.

Nov 2002

I loved this seminar course. Professor Pflugfelder is really interesting and fun. While he's not the best lecturer, he's very good at leading and provoking discussions, and he loves to tell funny stories. He talks to you as an equal and respects your opinion, even if he does not agree, which I appreciated greatly. If you ever take a seminar with him, be prepared to discuss the material. The workload is pretty heavy if you don't like lots of readings, but most of them, for this course at least, were very interesting.