Entranceof Nara Women's University

Department of History, Sociology, and Geography

Courses of the Department of History, Sociology and Geography

・Studies in Ancient Culture

  Nara is not only the birthplace of ancient Japanese culture but was also a center for international cultural exchange along the Silk Road. In this course, students will study archaeology, Japanese history, Oriental history, historical geography, and the history of art, of ancient culture, undertaking interdisciplinary study and research through language and artifacts.

・Historical Studies

  In this course, students will acquire the skills necessary to use ancient texts and records, iconographic texts, and original language historical materials in Japan, Asia, Europe, and America, thereby acquiring historical thinking and methodology. Research and learning in the course focus on Japanese history mainly from the Heian period onwards; on general Asian history mainly from the Middle ages onwards in terms of Oriental history; and on Western history from ancient times to modern times in terms of European history.

・Social Information Studies

  Students will acquire basic specialized knowledge in sociology and area informatics in order to analyze various issues of modern society, as well as learn skills for conducting survey analysis, such as performing questionnaire surveys, media analysis, fieldwork, and spatial analysis using geographic information systems.

・Regional Environment Studies

  Students will examine issues related to regional life, culture, landscapes, environment, disasters, and society from the perspectives of human geography, physical geography, and environmental sociology. Study and research begin with local sites and utilize various cutting-edge measurement instruments as well as a rich collection of aerial photographs, satellite images, and maps.

・Studies in Cultural Media

  Cultural media is a broad field encompassing places, things, and institutions that create culture as well as structures for transmitting culture. Students will study and conduct research on the question of what kind of value and information cultures create, and should create, focusing on “cultural media,” such as festivals, tourism, and museums to the mass media, taking advantage of our location, Nara.


Connecting Past and Present, East and West—Approaching Mysteries of History, Space, and Society

  Language, the mind, the body….At the Nara Women’s University Faculty of Letters, many flowers of knowledge related to humanity are in full bloom.

  In particular, the Department of History, Sociology, and Geography endeavors to explore the worlds of the past-present and East-West in terms of society, connections, spaces, and images. To this end, the Department offers five courses: Studies in Ancient Culture, Historical Studies, Social Information Studies, Regional Environment Studies, and Studies in Cultural Media.

  You may ask, “How useful is our study in this department? ” to which we answer: “It will help you live your life.”

  You will not only learn how to understand and interpret distant worlds in time and space, but also how to see things right before your eyes that, up until now, you have missed. The training will help solve your everyday problems, and could even save the world.

  However, the value of academic study does not lie solely in immediate utility. Why not try spending four enriching years enjoying yourself in the world of cultural knowledge that humans have built up over time, walking through the fields where human activities take place, and exploring the vast horizon of humanity and the world? By the end of your college life, your next step will surely emerge in front of you.


Curriculum Features

  “Specialized Subjects” include “Introductions”, “Special Studies”, “Readings”, “Practices”, “Excursions”, “Seminars”, and “Seminars for Graduation Thesis”.

  In their first year, students can take “Introductions” that offer a general knowledge of the content of various specialized fields such as history, sociology, and geography. Students are encouraged to take introductory subjects in a diverse range of fields so that they can acquire as broad a range of knowledge as possible.

  Beginning in their second year, students undertake “Special Studies” in which they examine more detailed topics in each field; “Readings” in which they explore a thorough selection of historical materials and specialized texts; and “Practices”, and “Excursions”, in which they acquire surveying and analytical skills through hands-on experiences.

  In their third year onwards, students take “Specialized Studies” in which they compile reports themselves and conduct discussions in small-class environments that enable them to put their knowledge and skills into practice.

  In their fourth year, students take “Seminars for Graduation Thesis” in which they individually decide their own research topic and carry out research to complete their graduation thesis.


Figure: Overview of the Department of History, Sociology and Geography Curriculum


Distinctive Activities

Nara Studies Project

  The Nara Studies Project is a new initiative aimed at deciphering the characteristics of the society and culture of Nara—a region steeped in history—from a modern-day perspective and transmitting the results of this research externally. Combining history, geography, archeology, sociology, cultural anthropology, folkloristics, art history, and various other fields, the project aims to conduct research on the local area, Nara, to discover elements that can contribute to further development of the fields of regionology and local area studies while utilizing the knowledge gained in educational and regional contribution activities.