Faculty Profile

Shawn Bender

Associate Professor of East Asian Studies (2006)

Contact Information

benders@dickinson.edu

Stern Center for Global Educ Room 001
717.245.1817

Bio

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.

Education

  • 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. This course is an introduction to contemporary Japanese society. The course examines what everyday life is like in Japan from anthropological and historical perspectives. It explores such major social institutions as families, gender, communities, workplaces, and belief systems. The course focuses as well on the ways in which modernization has affected these institutions and the identities of Japanese people.

ANTH 236 Japanese Society
Cross-listed with EASN 236-01. This course is an introduction to contemporary Japanese society. The course examines what everyday life is like in Japan from anthropological and historical perspectives. It explores such major social institutions as families, gender, communities, workplaces, and belief systems. The course focuses as well on the ways in which modernization has affected these institutions and the identities of Japanese people.

HEST 250 Health & Aging
Contact the Center for Global Study and Engagement to apply for this course.Permission of Instructor Required.This course is designed for undergraduates from all disciplinary backgrounds. It is an introduction to and prerequisite for students participating in Health and Wellness in Later Life: Comparative Research on American and Japanese Practices, a summer field-study course offered in 2015 by Global Education in collaboration with Akita International University. In the course, students initially explore the meanings and relationships between health and aging across cultures, with an emphasis on Japanese and American perspectives. Students then examine how culture, economy, and social organization influence national aging policies and practices. They explore further how these policies and practices have been taken up in the local community, and interact in-class with practicing professionals serving this community. In anticipation of the field-study portion of the summer course, students also study qualitative and quantitative research methods, including structured interview techniques, survey design and implementation, data analysis, and reporting.

Summer 2015

HEST 560 Stu/Faculty Collaborative Rsch
The course is a project-based learning opportunity (PBL) that examines the community health of two structurally similar but geographically distinct regions in Japan and the United States. The PBL project seeks to measure the health of these aging communities based on an investigation of resident “Quality of Life” (QOL). In so doing, the course assumes that high resident QOL is dependent on the effective support of local, regional, and national institutions. The course, therefore, has two fundamental aims: (1) to introduce students to local and national actors dedicated to the support of the aged and (2) to evaluate the role and effectiveness of these institutions on the individual level through quantitative and qualitative research with local elderly residents. The aims of the course are reflected in its structure. First, the course begins with an introduction to regional networks of governmental and non-governmental organizations dedicated to support of the aged. Following this introduction, students conduct surveys and ethnographic interviews with elderly residents in select neighborhoods. Finally, based on data acquired through site visits, surveys, and interviews, students present their evaluation of resident QOL in oral and written form. The course is divided into four main sections: 1. An introduction to the regional network of care providers: Students are introduced to regional networks of governmental and non-governmental organizations dedicated to support of the aged in both settings. 2. An introduction to national health care policy: Students meet regional and national officials and discuss programs and policies related to the elderly. 3. Completion of community based research. Students conduct QOL surveys and ethnographic interviews with elderly residents in select neighborhoods in both settings. 4. Completion of preliminary research paper and presentation. Based on data acquired through site visits, surveys, and interviews, students present their evaluation of resident QOL in oral and written form to interested community stakeholders. This eight-week program invites students to consider the similarities and differences in individual and societal perspectives and approaches to addressing health and aging. Throughout the program students are encouraged to compare across societies those factors which influence the health and well-being of the elderly.