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New Course for Spring 2021: JSIS 484 A/584 A | Spaces of Creative Resistance in East Asia

Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. A vacated local cinema space from 1947. Rebuilt and redesigned as a local and international cinema with library, classes, and public meeting space by bottom-up creative movement.

February 8, 2021

Andrea Gevurtz Arai, instructor (
Spring seminar: F, 1:30-4:20 “Spaces of Creative Resistance in East Asia”

This seminar course focuses on the spaces, places and creativity of social resistance projects across East Asia. We will explore the socio-cultural and political economic contexts of their emergence, the background and impetus for their participants to become involved; inventive methods of organization, social media as well as offline means of outreach, relationship to the local community, goals and connections with other local, regional and international projects for positive productive change. We will also look at what they produce and how they inspire, how these spaces and their creators disseminate their ideas and build support. We will be interested in their particularities in time, space and place, as well as their international resonances, or how what they do is “accumulative.” Moreover, this course will introduce you to the writing and theorizing of scholars of movements for change and those¬† involved in projects such as these in East Asia and beyond.

Students in the seminar will be expected to attend our weekly sessions regularly, prepare for seminar discussion by carefully completing all assigned readings and posting their thoughts on the readings in the weekly Canvas online discussion forums prior to class meetings. Students will be asked to help lead discussion one to two times during the quarter. In addition to this weekly work, students will complete, with instructor help and support, one large research paper (15-20 pages) or two smaller papers of (7-8 pages each). Specific instructions for these papers will be provided and discussed at length at the first meeting. As noted below, in addition to taking part in the May workshop linked to this seminar (details below), students who would like, may choose to collaborate on a possible publishable paper in the workshop edited volume.

As an added benefit this spring, students in this course will have the opportunity to participate in a collaborative international workshop in early May organized by Prof. Jeff Hou and Prof. Andrea Arai.

Haenam Region, South Korea. This young woman is a member of a new creative community who moved from Seoul to join a creative resistance movement, rebuilding an area defunded for some time by the federal government.

Students in the seminar will engage with the work of the participants of our workshop prior to and during the workshop. This group of scholars and activists are located in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Shanghai and due to the current health conditions will be joining us remotely for a 2-day workshop. This is a wonderfully interdisciplinary affiliated with:  cultural geography, anthropology, built environments, population studies, gender studies, social welfare and more.

This collaborative research group is focused on the social issues of income inequality, irregular or precarious labor, declining birth rates, aging, sustainability and the center-periphery divide. We are focused on bottom-up change and sustainable development, creative forms of coming and working together, building new physical, cultural spaces (as well as discursive ones), and the changing notions of center, periphery, family, work, gender relations and environment in a post-Fukushima, post-labor liberalization and pandemic time.

Featured in UW College of Arts and Sciences' Spring 2021 "Cool Courses" Roundup