Faculty Profile

Shawn Bender

Associate Professor of East Asian Studies (2006)

Contact Information


Stern Center for Global Educ Room 001


Professor Bender earned his doctorate in cultural anthropology at the University of California, San Diego in 2003. At Dickinson he teaches courses on contemporary Japanese society, popular culture, music, demographic change, health and aging, and technology. Since the late 1990s, Prof. Bender has conducted ethnographic fieldwork with taiko drumming groups in Japan. This scholarship is the basis of his book entitled Taiko Boom: Japanese Drumming in Place and Motion (2012, UC Press). He has also examined the introduction of traditional musical instruments in primary and secondary school curricula in Japan. More recently, his research has focused on the connections among discourses of demographic crisis, changes in elder care, and the development of robotics in Japan and Europe. This work has taken him both to Japan and to Denmark (where some Japanese robotics technologies have found a home). Prof. Bender is also affiliated with the department of Anthropology at Dickinson and the Health Studies Certificate Program. He has received numerous research grants from such institutions as the Japan Foundation and the Japanese Ministry of Education. His publications have appeared in the Journal of Asian Studies and in Social Science Japan Journal.


  • B.A., University of Minnesota, 1992
  • M.A., University of California at San Diego, 1996
  • Ph.D., 2003

2014-2015 Academic Year

Fall 2014

EASN 101 Introduction to East Asia
An interdisciplinary study of East Asian civilizations. The course provides a framework for understanding by introducing students to traditional social and cultural patterns in East Asia and to the variety of transformations that have taken place there. This course fulfills the Comparative Civilizations graduation requirement.

ANTH 101 Anthro for the 21st Century
The primary focus is on cultural anthropology, or the comparative study of human diversity across cultures. Other subfields within anthropology, namely archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology will also contribute perspectives. The goal is to demonstrate how anthropological perspectives enlighten our understanding of contemporary social phenomena and problems, highlighting the relevance of anthropology to everyday lives and especially to issues of human diversity. This course fulfills the DIV II social sciences distribution requirement and the Comparative Civilizations graduation requirement. Offered every semester.

Spring 2015

EASN 236 Japanese Society
Cross-listed with ANTH 236-01.

ANTH 236 Japanese Society
Cross-listed with EASN 236-01.

HEST 250 Health & Aging
Contact the Center for Global Study and Enegement to apply for this course.