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  • Kendo and....grad school research?

    I have the unique problem of trying to find how to study martial arts comparatively within different cultures. I am currently studying Anthropology, and I figure...someone...somewhere...has studied this already. I can't find anyone working at a grad school with similar interests to me. I don't know what other field would accomodate something like this- Asian Studies I suppose, but nearly all of the Asian Studies programs are business-based and don't even touch martial arts at all! I read in a differend thread a while ago about learning through books vs. learning through training. Anthropology is special in that you get to do some fieldwork to compliment book learning, so naturally I thought I could do a rather long study of Kendo. But, I'm not having much luck. Any grad schoolers out there who can help me out?

  • #2
    Originally posted by josieposey
    I have the unique problem of trying to find how to study martial arts comparatively within different cultures. I am currently studying Anthropology, and I figure...someone...somewhere...has studied this already. I can't find anyone working at a grad school with similar interests to me. I don't know what other field would accomodate something like this- Asian Studies I suppose, but nearly all of the Asian Studies programs are business-based and don't even touch martial arts at all! I read in a differend thread a while ago about learning through books vs. learning through training. Anthropology is special in that you get to do some fieldwork to compliment book learning, so naturally I thought I could do a rather long study of Kendo. But, I'm not having much luck. Any grad schoolers out there who can help me out?
    I'm attempting to understand your question and I'm reading it about three ways.
    Are you looking for advise on martial arts study abroad, or how people of different cultures train within their culture in comparison to other cultures, or are you looking for an asian study program in kendo that will give you credit toward your masters? I would like to help if I can.

    Comment


    • #3
      JP.
      Although I'm not quite sure how to read your question either, I'll just take a stab at it. As a perpetual grad student (I'll finish my dissertation eventually, I SWEAR), I can empathize with difficulty finding an appropriate program (I found myself moving into an area that no one in my program had a particularly strong background in--it made getting support and funding very difficult).

      Where I'm a little confused is: Are you looking to study martial artists (more anthropology); martial arts and culture (more sociology); or to document the development of certain arts and their larger impact over a longer period of time (a little more history)?

      Taking a stab in the dark at answering the question above myself, the field you might want to look at more closely, speaking broadly, is likely sociology. There are, I believe, a variety of works out there on Budo/martial art culture but comparative studies are hot topics in general. If you're serious about pursuing a grad degree, look for a sociology department that has at least one or two asian culture specialists. If the department has only 1, make sure s/he is reasonably young--younger profs will likely be more willing to take to graduate students who are doing "outside the mainstream" topics.

      Also, check to see if the university that has a decent Asian studies department also. You'll need access to a broad range of classes and culture specialists. If your school of choice only has one or two profs that specialize in asian studies of any stripe beyond language/lit courses, you may find yourself grasping for courses/mentors/direction.

      As a Masters student, I don't think you'd be asked to do a whole lot of extensive fieldwork; that's more the domain of a doctoral candidate (though it does depend on the program, of course).

      Cheers
      dogm.

      Comment


      • #4
        A whole lot of books were written back in the '80s about Japan's business practices and bushido. They have since fallen into disfavor following Japan's long economic slump.

        If you are interested in the topic of martial arts then perhaps we should wait for Alex's comments on this matter.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Dogmatix
          JP.


          Where I'm a little confused is: Are you looking to study martial artists (more anthropology); martial arts and culture (more sociology); or to document the development of certain arts and their larger impact over a longer period of time (a little more history)?
          I think you are confusing two things here, martial arts relative to their native culture would be antropology or maybe even cultural sciences, studying martial artists as a subgroup of society (in this or that country) would be sociology.

          Comment


          • #6
            Try:

            http://www.goviamedia.com/
            http://www.hoplology.com/index.asp

            (and the rest of our publications links page)

            I think most of the books talking about the links between Japanese business practices and 'bushido' were crap, or they were straight re-prints of Japanese works with the only mention about business practices being in the introduction, or more commonly only on the publisher's blurb on the back. See Alex's article 'A Beginner's Guide to Bushido' in issue 2.4 of Kendo World for more on that.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Wout
              I think you are confusing two things here, martial arts relative to their native culture would be antropology or maybe even cultural sciences, studying martial artists as a subgroup of society (in this or that country) would be sociology.
              Cross-cultural/comparative cultural studies appears to be a relatively hot topic in theoretical/historical sociology in the states currently, focusing more on the broader cultural implications (arts), not the individuals (artists). That's where I was going with that. (I've got friends working on comparative studies of the cultural impact of conscription versus volunteer military enlistment in the US, UK, and South Africa at the moment. They seem doing away with the "subgroup" approach and replacing it more with a more "movements and society" sort of gig.).

              But, yea, your reading above is more on the money. Sorry.

              Comment


              • #8
                Oops, sorry, double post

                International Hopology Society
                Last edited by DCPan; 17th November 2004, 02:58 AM. Reason: Oops, sorry, double post

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dogmatix
                  Cross-cultural/comparative cultural studies appears to be a relatively hot topic in theoretical/historical sociology in the states currently, focusing more on the broader cultural implications (arts), not the individuals (artists). That's where I was going with that. (I've got friends working on comparative studies of the cultural impact of conscription versus volunteer military enlistment in the US, UK, and South Africa at the moment. They seem doing away with the "subgroup" approach and replacing it more with a more "movements and society" sort of gig.).

                  But, yea, your reading above is more on the money. Sorry.
                  yeah, cross cultural studies about martial artists/arts would be sociology, but I like to add that too much focus on institutions might lead away from sociology towards cultural sciences, 'a society is made by people' like my prof said after a famous sociologist 'it doesn't hoover over their heads or anything.' On the other hand too much focus on individuals is likely to become psychology, whereas sociology studies relationships between them.

                  Comment

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