Faculty of Letters
The objective of the undergraduate course is that students will not only acquire a mastery of a particular field in the humanities but will also have a grasp of the humanities as a whole. In line with this objective, the curriculum is designed for students to pursue in-depth study in a particular field and at the same time to learn from a variety of disciplines.
There are 16 departments in this faculty, covering a wide range of humanities studies. This includes linguistics, literature, philosophy, psychology, history, geography, and other subjects.
In the freshman year, students do not belong to any of these departments. Rather, each student takes a variety of introductory lectures and seminars offered by the departments which interest them, so as to get an idea of those departments. Then at the end of the freshman year, each student decides upon a particular department to which they will belong in the sophomore, junior, and senior years.
From the sophomore year onwards, each student thus focuses on a particular field of studies in the humanities, and by the end of the fourth year completes a graduation thesis under the guidance of a professor in the department.
Department of English Linguistics and Literature
This Department offers a curriculum that covers three fields of study: British Literature, American Literature and English Linguistics. Students entering this Department can, according to their own interests, pursue any one of the three fields. British and American Literature is studied mainly in seminar-style classes, supported by general introductions to literary theory and the literary histories of Britain and America, while English linguistics is approached through a general introduction to the field, followed up by courses in such subjects as phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and sociolinguistics, providing a diversity of academic approaches. The students' four years as undergraduates reach their climax in their senior seminars, in which small groups of students study subjects of their own interest, and in so doing prepare their graduation theses and learn the basics of academic research and writing.
Department of American and British Cultural Studies
This Department offers interdisciplinary studies in American and British culture, as well as cultural studies of other English-speaking areas. Topics covered in lectures include but are not restricted to: cultural studies, comparative cultural studies, aesthetics, environmental philosophy, ecocriticism, culture of food and drink, art history, representation and culture, African American studies, film studies, history of ideas, British literature, postcolonial criticism, gender and sexuality studies, body culture studies and educational sociology. Having faculty from diverse natioralities and backgrounds, the Department seeks not only to develop students' English proficiency but also allows them to immerse in a truly international learning environment. In addition, our lectures and seminars are designed to help students improve their critical thinking and presentation skills through discussions and presentations of reseach outcomes. The interactive learning process will prepare shudents for employment in a range of professions.
Department of Japanese Language and Literature
This Department offers two courses: a literature course that ranges from the earliest poetry and prose, through the glories of Heian, Kamakura and Muromachi writing and the wit and pathos of Edo-period best-sellers, to the modern literature of the Meiji, Taisho, Showa and Heisei periods; and a linguistics course that embraces the phonology, lexicology and etymology, and the grammar of the Japanese language. Particularly serious emphasis is placed upon seminar-work, the final result of which is the academic achievement that crowns each student's four years of endeavor, her or his graduation thesis.
The Department maintains its own academic association, regularly publishing an organ and Japanese Literature.
Department of Philosophy and Ethics
This Department offers students a comprehensive study of philosophy and ethics. The course program is devised for students to study essential problems of philosophy and ethics systematically (especially in Studies in Philosophy and Ethics 1-2) and to master skills of academic reading, writing and logical thinking (in Basic Seminars in Philosophy and Ethics). Students are also aided to be acquainted with history of philosophy and ethics (in various lectures such as Introduction to Philosophy and Introduction to Ethics etc.) On the basis of this fundamental study, each student is guided to have greater interest in these disciplines and find out her/his own study theme. Then, she/he is disciplined to investigate it by herself/himself and to give representations about it (in Advanced Seminars). A wide range of choice of themes of graduation thesis is guaranteed: from Greek philosophy and ethics to contemporary philosophy and ethics including applied ethics.
Department of Religious Studies
This Department, formerly a division of the Department of Philosophy, offers comparative and comprehensive studies of religion and religions. Religious Studies investigate all kinds of religions, from world religions to new religions and folk beliefs, and also their various aspects and functions, for example, philosophical Buddhist thought, myths, rituals, and their roles in peace and war in today's world. Here students learn the diversity of religions and theories of religion, which is necessary knowledge for those who live and work in the era of globalization. Students can individually consider topics such as the meaning of life and death, Japanese religious thought, and salvation and healing, from various, sociological, anthropological, and philosophical perspectives. In addition, the Department offers fieldwork, through which students experience sacred places, festivals and pilgrimages.
Department of Art Theory, Art History and Aesthetics
This Department offers advanced instruction and research activities in Eastern as well as Western Paintings, Sculpture, Design, Architecture, Comics, Performance, Drama, Dance and Music. The intensive program at this Department encompasses theoretical consideration of artifacts, historical examination of masterpieces, appreciation through audiovisual equipment, visits to relevant study sites and research trips to architectural objects of historical and artistic importance within reach of the campus. All courses provide students with a rich grounding for the understanding of particular historical styles and skills as well as the motivation for artistic creation, and with a foundation for further training in curatorship. These courses are further designed to bring students to understand the significance and possibilities of artistic activities both historically and theoretically.
Department of European Cultures
The European Cultures Program, which was newly established in 2021, offers courses in German Language and Culture and French Language and Culture, allowing students to learn about the rich culture of Europe, with a focus on Germany and France. Europe is a land of endless fascination. However, for many Japanese, Europe is a place that they would like to visit at least once, but do not know much about. In this course, we aim to provide a clearer, more detailed, and more precise understanding of the fascination of Europe. Specifically, we will begin by learning the basics of European language, literature, and culture in a well-balanced and wide-ranging way. Then, through friendly rivalry with our peers in small seminars, we pursue our own research themes in depth, leading to the writing of our graduation thesis in the fourth year. In order to improve our students' ability to use German and French, we offer many classes taught by native teachers and recommend various study abroad programs. We also strongly support the acquisition of qualifications such as the German and French examinations. We believe that training your thinking in a language and culture different from Japanese and English will help you develop a critical intellect and a soft sensitivity.
Department of Japanese History
This Department was set up in 1949. Second-year students of this Department can choose to take either the History of Japan or the Cultural Heritage Study course, and deepen their area of specialty after learning fundamental concepts. In the History of Japan course, students not only learn the historical document approach for research, but also methods from archeology and folklore, etc. In the Cultural Heritage course, registered World Heritage sites are studied in addition to other various cultural assets of significance. In this Department, the curriculum is kept as flexible as possible to cater for a diverse range of interests.
Department of World History
This Department was reorganized from the Oriental and Occidental History courses in the former Department of History in 2010. Second-year students are offered introductions to basic approaches in history, and soon start to contribute to the ongoing process of research and theoretical arguments under the guidance of teachers specializing in different topics. From here, students begin to identify and eventually decide on the area of special studies they wish to concentrate on. On the basis of decisions, students choose their graduation themes from oriental and occidental history. They will acquire broad historical knowledge and views through the seminar-based classes, academic debates, and basic works of reference.
Department of Geography and Regional Environment
Timely knowledges and solutions for environmental issues are strongly called for recently. The Department of Geography and Regional Environment covers not only conventional human geography and physical geography, but also incorporates resolutions of local/regional environmental issues. Our interests do not include global scale issues like global warming. We treat meso- or micro-scale environmental issues like transformations of spatial organizations closely related with our everyday life. We offer various kinds of lectures and practice courses: many study fields of human and physical geography such as regional geography, economic geography, historical geography, rural geography, and regional environment systems. Themes or tools like tourism, local culture, area management, NPO activity, environmental ecology, geographic information system, and surveying are also provided.
Department of Education and Culture
This Department imparts a knowledge base pertaining to education inside and outside of formal schooling. We focus on human learning processes seen in groups and individuals on a micro level. We simultaneously study the theory of social factors influencing education on the macro level, especially in terms of class, ethnicity, and gender. Students can study the phenomena of education both in the classroom, and through fieldwork and school internships.
This Department offers courses concerning Philosophy of Education, Schooling, Educational Law & Administration, Lifelong Learning, Library and Information Science, Educational Anthropology, Educational Sociology, Gender Studies, Human Rights Education, and Digital Learning in both classroom and seminar-style learning situations.
Graduates from this Department have chosen to work in education, the civil service, social welfare, and a wide range of enterprises in the private sector.
Department of Elementary Education
Since 2007, our Department of Elementary Education has provided 50 undergraduates per grade with professional education in the elementary teacher certification program at the Faculty of Letters under the teacher certification system of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Our mission is to prepare prospective elementary school teachers who can engage in a lifetime of inquiry in teaching and provide responsible education for all children in our changing society. Creating and applying knowledge to elementary educational practices, our Department focuses on improving learning and teaching in educational settings. We believe that public education is an active agent of change in a diverse and democratic society. The undergraduates involved in our elementary teacher education program combine and connect challenging academic coursework on pedagogical practices in educational settings with guided experiences, fieldwork, and an internship to gain structured professional study through their four years of learning for teaching in elementary schools. Our Department's dedication reflects both the students' commitment to young people and professional growth. We also encourage intellectual development and a spirit of adventure in one of the most demanding and rewarding professions that is urgently needed in our society.
Department of Psychology
The Department of Psychology was originally established in 1967 in the Faculty of Letters, having the longest history of any psychology course at the Kansai University. Since then, we have kept eyes on contemporary interdisciplinary trends and aim to bring about a new form of psychological research and education that is not limited to the traditional framework. In the Department, we undertake a wide range of teaching and research in the human mind and behaviour to deepen the understanding of ourselves and others throught empirical approaches to cognition, development, language, as well as cultures and arts. To better understand human beings, however, it is not sufficient to study psychology alone. In this respect, the Faculty of Letters has the great advantage of having a large variety of departments. Students have the opportunity to take unique and diverse specialised courses offered by other departments, such as philosophy, linguistics, and religious studies, as well as cross-departmental programmes. Our graduates go on to work at corporates as well as become teachers or civil servants, while others go on to graduate school to pursue careers that utilise their expertise in psychology.
Department of Film and Media Studies
This department offers a curriculum designed to foster critical understanding of the history and theory of film and media. Students are first encouraged to gain general knowledge of the culture and history of film through introductory courses on cross-cultural comparison of American, European and East Asian film cultures, and their relationship to other visual genres such as painting, photography, video, television and computer-based media. We also provide advanced courses on film and media theory, film history and national cinemas, as well as video production workshop, to enhance analytical and theoretical knowledge and to gain an understanding of the creative process.
Department of Cultural Symbiotics
In this major, we aim to provide knowledge from a new point of view by grasping various cultural events in a cross-sectoral and flexible way, with "cross-cultural understanding" and "symbiosis" being our keywords. "Symbiosis" may seem similar to "coexistence", yet the word "symbiosis" means more than that by proactively recognizing cross-cultural differences and including a creative aspect.
In the twenty-first century, what the world needs most will be not self-righteous nationalism, capital logic or exclusive religionism but an attempt to achieve a creative symbiosis by accepting cultural diversities and competing energetically with each other. This is due to the fact that avoiding conflicts and opening a path to future prospects in this modern multicultural society is the wisdom of human beings.
The courses of this major are mainly Cross-cultural Coexistence, Comparative Culture and Representation, Gender and Minorities. Thus, we work in an academic field untouched by our existing majors so that we can react to the rapidly changing modern society.
Department of Asian Culture Studies
It is often said that the 21st century is the age of Asia. As Asia’s economies continue to grow, their relations with Japan have become more closely knit. In Japan, however, people have less awareness and knowledge of the cultures of Asia than that of Europe and America.
Department of Asian Culture encourages students to learn not only the “traditional Asia,” but also the “contemporary Asia,” helping them to become cosmopolitan thinkers with a holistic understanding of the cultures of Asian countries.
Students taking “Asian Culture course”will study regions such as Korea, Southeast Asia, Central and Western Asia, and Japan, taking into account not only textual sources but also a wide variety of cultural phenomena relating to food, living, clothing, and popular culture. Students taking “Chinese Language and Culture course”will learn about the rapidly rising China through the study of its language and culture, exploring various fields including language, thought, literature, and intercultural contacts.
Our teaching staff, who have a diverse range of expertise, will see to fulfilling your intellectual curiosity.