De Souza Seminar
Nikkei Diaspora Literature
Nikkei Diaspora Literature: Short Stories
This course teaches students about short stories by Nikkei writers from the UK, the US, Canada, and Australia. The course helps students learn to analyse literature and gets them ready for more advanced Nikkei diaspora literature studies in their third and fourth years. It covers the basics needed to understand this literature.
During the course, students will read a selection of short stories by Nikkei authors. These stories, which show the experiences of Japanese people living abroad, will be analysed through literary criticism. Each story will be looked at through one of these themes: diaspora, race, identity, or belonging. Starting with these short stories will help students develop the skills to later read longer, more complex works by Nikkei writers.
The short stories we will study are (in order):
1. Kazuo Ishiguro “The Summer After the War ” (United Kingdom) - diaspora
2. Hisaye Yamamoto ”A Day in Little Tokyo ” (United States) - race
3. Jeff Chiba Stearns and Lillian Michiko Blakey On Being Yukiko (Canada) - identity
4. Masako Fukui When Blossoms Fall (Australia) - belonging
Nikkei Diaspora Literature: Novels
Spring semester: United Kingdom, United States
This course helps students understand books by Nikkei authors from the UK and USA. It teaches how to analyse literature. Students will learn important facts and methods needed to understand this type of literature.
During the course, students will read Nikkei literature from both countries. They will focus on novels and use literary criticism to explore the experiences and views of people of Japanese descent living outside Japan. Each book will be studied under one of these themes: diaspora, race, identity, or belonging.
First, we will look at Kazuo Ishiguro's Klara and the Sun under the diaspora theme. We will see how the book shows characters away from their homes and communities. We will discuss themes like loss, longing, and identity, and how they connect to diaspora. By reading closely and studying related works, we will better understand the book's view on diaspora in a world dominated by AI.
In the second week, we will visit Kobe. This trip will help us learn more about the global Nikkei diaspora and build connections in the seminar group. We will tour the Kobe Center for Overseas Migration and Cultural Interaction and have time at the museum. Then, we will walk around Kobe to see its multicultural history.
John Okada's No-No Boy is next. It looks at race during and after World War II in the Japanese American experience. The book is about Ichiro Yamada, a Japanese American called a "No-No Boy" for how he answered a loyalty questionnaire during the war. The novel shows how race, identity, and citizenship are linked in American history. It also examines how the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans affected their identity.
The novels we will study are (in order):
1. Kazuo Ishiguro Klara and the Sun (United Kingdom) - diaspora
2. John Okada No-No Boy (United States) - race
Autumn semester: Canada, (Student Choice)
This course helps students understand books by Nikkei authors from the Canada and other countries they pick. It teaches how to analyse literature. Students will learn important facts and methods needed to understand this type of literature.
During the course, students will read Nikkei literature from Canada and other countries. They will focus on novels and use literary criticism to explore the experiences and views of people of Japanese descent living outside Japan. Each book will be studied under one of these themes: diaspora, race, identity, or belonging.
First, we will look at Hiromi Goto's book Chorus of Mushrooms. We will focus on identity and belonging. The book is about a Japanese-Canadian family and their mixed identities. We will see how the book's characters deal with feeling like outsiders. We will also look at how gender, race, and culture affect their sense of self. By closely reading and discussing the book, we will better understand the complexities of identity and belonging.
Students can pick a book to study more. They will read and learn about this book on their own, with the professor's help. Near the end of the semester, they will present about this book. Usually, they use this book for their final year thesis.
The novels we will study are (in order):
1. Hiromi Goto Chorus of Mushrooms (Canada) - identity & belonging
2. The student has the freedom to choose any Nikkei novel written in English, but the professor must approve the selection.
Nikkei Diaspora Literature: Thesis
This course helps students write and submit their graduation thesis. Students will attend monthly meetings with their classmates and have one-on-one appointments with their professor. The course starts by discussing the Nikkei diaspora literature and the importance of choosing a specific focus for the thesis. Students will learn about the structure and requirements for the thesis and start brainstorming ideas. The meetings will cover research strategies, writing, citation format, and receiving feedback on their progress. In November, students will finalize their thesis and in December, they will prepare for the oral defence. To make the most out of their appointment with the professor, students should submit their work at least one week before and come prepared with questions or areas of concern. They can cancel their appointment if they can't attend. Appointments can be made from the Contact page.