Anthropology 254a


Instructions and Question Bank for the Final Examination


The examination will ask you to write four brief essays.  The essay questions will be drawn from the following list.  At the examination, I will select and present you with six of these questions, from which you will select and answer four. 


Your essays will be graded on the points that you make, on the quality of the evidence that you offer in support of your points, and on the way in which you express your argument.  I am particularly interested in the ways in which you can integrate the readings, lectures, and videos of the course in addressing these questions.  This is an opportunity to demonstrate the reading and thinking you have done about the full range of course materials\sessions, reading assignments, and the videos.  Aim to support your general statements with specific illustrations.  And by making the questions available in advance, I expect you to answer with thoughtful essays and not just random lists of points.


Please note the following about the examination:


1.   You will have 2 1/2 hours to complete your examination.  Each question will be weighted equally, so allow about one-half hour per answer.  Use the additional half hour for getting yourself going at the outset and for reviewing and proofreading at the end.


2.   No notes, books, or other materials may be used during the examination period.


3.   Please write your examination on ruled 8 1/2" x 11" paper.  There may be some paper at the examination, but it will be most helpful if you bring your own supply.


4.  A note on referencing in your exam responses.  I do not need or expect full references of names and titles; just give me enough so that I recognize your example (e.g., gRohlen on Kobe high schools,h gNoriko video,h gBumiller book,h glecture on traditionh)


I and the TAs will be available to meet with you before the examination to clarify any issues, by appointment. If you wish the exam to be returned to you, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope when you hand in your exam.


Anthro 254a: Final Exam Question Bank for Fall Term, 2006


1.     Throughout this course I have employed the concepts of gmainstream consciousnessh and gstructured diversity.h  How have you come to understand these concepts as they apply to Japan (e.g., how would you explain them to a friend who has not taken the course)?  What examples from course readings and documentaries might you give to illustrate your explanation?


2.     To what extent and in what particular ways do you think the life experience and attitudes of Mariko Tanaka, as profiled by Elisabeth Bumiller, are (and are not) representative of contemporary Japan as you have come to understand it through this course? 


3.     What do you find to be some of the important differences between the conditions and organization of work in large companies versus work conditions and organization in the medium and small workplaces of contemporary Japan?  How are these illustrated by cases and characters you have encountered in course lectures, readings, and videos?


4.     Given the lectures, readings, and videos of this course, how would you characterize women's roles and gender relations in present-day Japanese society? Is women's position a matter of gpublic discrimination, but private powerh?  Do you agree with Ogasawarafs argument about the power of the Tôzai Bank OLs?  What do you think are the prospects for and directions of change in the future?


5.     How would you characterize postwar patterns of family form and formation?  What are some of the connections between family and work in contemporary Japan?  Be sure to illustrate your argument with examples from course materials, including both readings and documentaries.


6.     What do you now understand to be the principal aims of Japanese schooling at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels?  To what extent and in what ways would you say that the entrance examinations for high school and for college drive the educational system of contemporary Japanese society?  How do the pedagogy and experiences at the other levels of education reinforce and/or contradict the demands of exam performance?  


7.     What does the experience of Brazilians in Japan teach us the position of minorities in Japan. Explain how Roth uses the concept of "structural marginalization" in his work.


8.     The documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto has given us both gDream Girlsh and gGAEA Girls.h  What are some of the important lessons of these documentaries about gender, mass culture, and other topics of contemporary Japan?@How might they connect with other materials we have encountered in the course?


9.   This course takes its title from the premise that contemporary Japan should be thought of as fully but distinctively modern.  How have you come to understand this to be so?  What areas of life, in particular, do you think have developed in ways alternative to Western\or at least U.S.\forms of modernity?