Honors Courses of the Day

HARUKI MURAKAMI & KINSHIP STUDIES

HARUKI MURAKAMI’S FICTIONAL UNIVERSE (Asian Studies 3900.01, CRN: 26626)

Days/Times: Monday, Wednesday & Friday; 11:00 to 11:50 AM

Professor: Barbara Thornbury


About: Dwell in Haruki Murakami's fictional universe for a semester. Murakami is one of the most intriguing and thought-provoking writers in the world today. His novels top bestseller lists in his home country (Japan) and attract readers from around the globe. Word has it that his writings have now been translated into fifty languages. Readers are drawn to the lyrical quality and crystalline clarity of his prose and to the stunning power of his imagination. The course will focus 100% on Murakami’s novels and short stories. On our reading list: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, 1Q84, “Super-Frog Saves Tokyo,"Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A Novel—and more. Come prepared for a semester of intensive reading and lively discussion. Knowledge of Japanese is not required.


(This course is cross listed in Japanese)


About the Professor: You can find me in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Studies—where I teach classes, do research, and write on Japanese literature and film. How would I describe myself? Well, I guess I’d say I’m an urban explorer. Cities fascinate me—Tokyo, above all.

COMPARATIVE KINSHIP STUDIES (Sociology 3930.01, CRN: 27726)

Days/Times: Tuesday & Thursday, 9:30 to 10:50 AM
Professor: Sherri Grasmuck


About: Among the many themes of kinship we shall consider are: the way public policy impacts family formation; sexuality, intimate relations and parenting; the division of labor and social power within families; and their variations across the globe. While we shall focus on the history of the American family as an institution with its race, ethnic and class variations, we’ll not make the mistake of treating American kinship patterns as the international norm. We’ll also devote a portion of our time to applying the material to an understanding of where our own families fit into this material. That is, we will relate our own and classmates’ family biographies to the broader social history of American families. Applying theoretical concepts to real cases is often the most effective way of understanding them and examining their usefulness and plausibility. The family analysis assignment can offer you deep insights into how your family of origin has influenced your orientation to the world and how your ancestry fits into general trends in family formation in the post-war period as long as you make the necessary investment of sincerity, effort and time.


About the Professor: Who is Sherri Grasmuck? I grew up in Texas and completed my Ph.D. there but have taught at Temple for even longer so my southern credentials are now in question. Sociology spoke to me as a zone of quiet reflection during the turbulent days of Vietnam protest and kinship struggles over race. Much of my research has dealt with people who cross national borders especially the impact of being unanchored from homeland on kinship and gender relations. I have conducted research in Scotland, the Dominican Republic, and more recently Turkey. I seem to have an evolving identity that has shifted over time from Texan, to Scottish, to Dominican, generally Latina, and now Turkish. This semester I’ll be living in Frankfurt Germany, writing and studying Turkish with immigrants there. I adore teaching the kinship course as it is the course where I come to know students, and they me, the most, as who we are in our families explains many of our deepest challenges. I adore cross-generational friendships and have many Give me two seconds and I’ll share my beliefs about the importance of learning foreign languages; in short, it opens many doors to other hearts.