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State of the Field Seminar: Modern Japan through Consumption


Admission requirements

In principle, only students who are admitted to the master’s programme Japanese Studies can take part in this course.


Mass availability of consumer goods has had the most significant impact upon the way of life of ordinary people during the last hundred years. No aspect of daily life has been left untouched by the emergence of the consumer society. It has not only satisfied our needs, and created new ones, but also in many ways affected the ways we view the world and our position within it. This course will explore this transformation with particular reference to Japan.

Course objectives

This course aims to introduce students to the key theoretical and conceptual literature on consumer society and to familiarize them with the ways to apply this literature to the study of Japanese society throught the focus of consumption in both historical and contemporary contexts.


Wednesday, 11-13.

Mode of instruction

Other: Seminar.

Assessment method

Participation element (attendance, assignments): 35%
Analytic elements (3 position papers): 25%
Research element (research essay 4000 words): 40%


Is Blackboard used in the course? Yes

Reading list

Martyn J. Lee, ed. 2000. The Consumer Society Reader. London: Blackwell.

Additional readings will be made available for dowload through Blackboard or the University Library, or will be on reserve in the East Asia Library.


How the (various groups of) students should register for the course.
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Prof. dr. K.J. Cwiertka
tel. 0715272599