Maison Franco-japonaise: 日仏会館 Institut français de recherche sur le Japon à la Maison franco-japonaise (UMIFRE 19 MEAE-CNRS)

Langue:JA / FR


Lunch Seminar on Japanese Economy and Society

The Future of Japanese Universities: Beyond the Debate on Abolishing the Humanities

en anglais sans traduction
Date lundi 15 février 2016 / 12:30 – 14:00
Lieu salle 601
Conférencier YOSHIMI Shun.ya (Tokyo University)

In What is a University? (Iwanami Shinsho, 2010), I took a historical look at the issue of universities and the media. More recently, I have focused on the past decades to explain the social changes that lie behind the recent debate on abolishing Humanities departments in Japanese universities. This debate has shed light on a more fundamental problem, namely that neoliberal policies since the 1990s have undermined the foundations of higher education in Japan.
I would like to challenge the view that the humanities are of no use. I believe that the humanities do matter, but the question is why? Being useful is not limited to the capacity to contribute to economic growth over the next few years. The fact is that the perception of what is useful or not to a society is determined by its system of values at a particular historical moment. And systems of values are subject to change. What was considered useful yesterday might suddenly become useless tomorrow. What really matters is our ability to criticize established values and create new ones; in other words, to put the values and norms we take for granted into perspective. Only the humanities can nurture this ability.

Yoshimi Shunya is Professor of Sociology, Urbanism, Cultural Studies and Media Studies at Tokyo University. He is widely known for his pioneering role in the introduction of Cultural Studies to Japan. He is the author of many books in Japanese, including Dramaturgy in the City (Kōbundo, 1987), The Politics of Exposition (Chūōkōronsha, 1992), Cultural Sociology in the Media Age (Shinyōsha, 1994), Voice of Capitalism (Kōdansha, 1995), Expo Syndrome (Chikuma Shobo, 2005), Pro-America, Anti-America (Iwanami Shoten, 2007), Post-Postwar Society (Iwanami Shinsho, 2009), What is a University? (Iwanami Shinsho, 2011), and Atoms for Dream (Chikuma Shobō, 2012).


Moderator: Nicolas MOLLARD (UMIFRE 19 – MFJ)
Org.: Bureau français de la MFJ
Co-org.: CCI France Japon
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