Postponed to 2021! Summer university: Open and Closed Societies: The Example of Japan (10.08-16.08)

Postponed to 2021!

The University of Tartu Asian Centre together with the UT International Summer University are organizing a summer program titled Open and Closed Societies: The Example of Japan

Programme description
Japan is known for its unique culture and way of living. Also, it has been well-known for its insular character and closedness in the course of history. However, the recent trade agreement between Japan and the EU as well as the growing openness in fields of education and economy shows clearly how global forces impact countries in enabling mutual exchanges and understanding. Because of that, Japan is an intriguing example for finding answers to the following questions - how to maintain country’s unique culture, but at the same time be open to cooperation and internationalization? How does the country see oneself and one’s neighbours? And how does one implement certain conceptions into politics, education and literature?
The summer school in August is addressing these questions by using the example of Japan. At the same time, we encourage students in seminars and discussions to reflect on their own countries’ examples.

There are several definitions of open and closed society that are currently in use. In the summer school, we will discuss the commonalities and differences of them. However, as concepts we originate from Karl Popper thoughts by which we can say that in open society individuals are confronted with personal decisions, critical thinking and freedom of expression, not with commands from tribal or collectivist society. Also, open society is linked with cultural and religious pluralism and is always open to improvement. To the contrary, closed society is very much on the spot, claiming to have found the ultimate truth about rule of law and reality. Critical thinking of its members is not needed, as there is no room for development.

The program takes an interdisciplinary look at fields of politics, history, education, and literature. Together with students we want to discuss in how far the concepts of closedness and openness are applicable to societies, and where do we move in the light of recent global developments.

Methods of the summer school:
The focus of this summer school is on the personal development of the participant. Therefore, we take into account participants needs of development and wishes as much as possible. We use different methods to create interactive learning environment - reflecting lectures, group and individual tasks are some of them. By the time of the application, students are requested to write 3 questions or topics they would like to discuss or focus on during the summer school.

Project paper:

As a result of the summer school we hope to motivate students for further exchange of thoughts, promoting their knowledge about Japan and initiate the possibility of publishing a short article in an academic journal in English on topics related to Japan. Organizers will support students in their idea creation and writing process. This opportunity gives students the experience in writing an academic paper as well as a visible outcome of the summer school discussions.

More information on the programme homepage.
Application deadline: 17th of June
Addmission results: 20th of June
General information:
Level: BA and MA
Credits: 2 ECTS
Language: English
Location: Tartu
Time: 10–16 August; 2019
Programme fee: 350 € (does not include accommodation)

Entry requirements:
Online application form
Motivation letter (up to 1.5 page)
Transcript of academic records
Copy of the passport
PS: Only complete applications including all annexes submitted by the deadline will be considered for selection.

Motivation letter (up to 1.5 page) that demonstrates the applicant’s motivation to participate, explains his/her expectations about the programme and how participation in the summer programme is connected with his/her studies and interests, and how the applicant plans to use the gained experience and knowledge in the future.
As the focus of this summer school is on the personal development of the student, all the participants are requested to add 3 questions or topics of interest they would like to discuss or focus on during the summer school.

Programme fee:
Programme fee: 350€ includes tuition, cost of the study visits, cultural and social programme and services of the host university.
Students are responsible for their accommodation, travel and travel insurance (visa arrangements, if needed) from their home country to Tartu and back to their home country. It is possible to apply for scholarships.

The summer university programme is supported by the Asia Centre of the University of Tartu.



9.15-10.00  Info
10.00-11.00 Introductions Philosophic, semiotic, political approach to closeness of societies - tbc
11.15-12.00 Group work: workshop
12.00-13.00 Lunch
13.00-14.00 Closeness and openness in modern world: case of studies of different countries and cultures - tbc
14.15-15.45 Practical exercise - tbc
15.50-16.10 Reflection of the day - tbc
19.00-  Team building activities, dinner

9:30-11.00 Overview of the historical closedness of Japan: from medieval ages up to the end of WW II - Ene Selart
11.15-12.15 Workshop/Seminar on historical issues - Ene Selart
12.15-13.15 Lunch
13.15-14.45 Influence of historical closedness on Japanese culture and society in modern times: 20th century up to present - Ene Selart
15.00-15.15 15 Reflections and discussions, group work

Orientation game, informal pub night

9:30-11.00 Development of Japanese universities – from open institutions to closed institutions? -  Eva Liias
11.15-12.15 “Multicultural” on Japanese campuses/ in Japanese education - Eva Liias
12.15-13.15 Lunch
13.15-14.45 Students and work/ job-market (discussing aspects of migration and education) - Eva Liias
15.00-15.15 Reflections, discussions, group work - Eva Liias

Free afternoon and evening

9:30-11.00 Issues of immigration and foreigners in present Japan - Ene Selart/ Eva Liias
11.15-12.15 Workshop/Seminar on topic of immigration and foreigners - Ene Selart/ Eva Liias
12.15-13.15 Lunch
13.15-14.45 Japan and its neighbours - Ene Selart/ Eva Liias
15.00-16.00 Reflections and discussions, group work;
Preparing the article

9.30-11.00 Overview of Modern Japanese Literature, From Translation of Western works to Character-centric Light Novel Yorimitsu - Hashimoto
11.15-12.15 Seminar on the topic - Yorimitsu Hashimoto
12.15-13.15 Lunch
13.15-14.45 (In)visibile Other in Modern Japanese Literature or culture - Yorimitsu Hashimoto
15.00-16.00 Reflections and discussions, group work;
Preparing the article

Day 6: Work on presentations
9.30-  Student presentations, discussions
16.00  Conclusions

Mari Mäesaar, Programme Manager of International Summer University
(+372) 737 5561
(+372) 5919 2943