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Message from the Dean


Dean, the Graduate School of Global Studies

 In 2020 the entire world was suddenly separated. What we experienced completely changed our mindset towards modern global society—it made us, ironically, realize how incredibly close the connections between individuals were. The separations also made us aware of how easily we had been able to interact with others and the community thanks to advancements in various methods and technologies. And the infectiousness of the virus showed us that it is impossible for people to live in isolation and that we depend on one another to live.
 Since the beginning of the 21st century, we have faced a variety of problems in the narrow gap between the force of the accelerating global market and the opposing desire for national and ethnic cohesion. However, I think that the COVID-19 pandemic showed the world that society is built on minute and complex networks between individuals and that there is an urgent need for humanity to find ways to live more harmoniously with nature.
 Since its launch in 2010, the Doshisha University Graduate School of Global Studies has gathered a teaching staff specializing in the social sciences and humanities and offered a curriculum in which students analyze, observe, and critically examine the connections between people with an approach that spans history, community studies, culture, politics, ideologies, and linguistics. The connections between people can at times give us exquisite pleasure and at other times cause us anguish, sadness, and even hatred and hostility. This is something we have all experienced. My hope for students in the Graduate School of Global Studies is that when exploring the reason why this is so, you encounter something in the past or another country, in the ideas of a certain scholar or researcher, or in a work of art that leads to an astonishing discovery.

Think and Feel as Part of Community, the World and Human Society

 A global perspective differs from an international perspective. In a global perspective, everyone is at the center because the earth is round—no one is on the margins. This means that everyone’s voice should be recognized as valid and that everyone should be treated as having equal value. However, something completely different from this ideal is occurring in the world today. It is only natural to recognize your own existence, so we cannot be blamed for seeing ourselves as the center of the world. However, if we look at the fact that we exist with others and live in communities while networking with others and that communities create their own history in the world, we will be able to feel the mysterious gravity of society in which no one is at the center of the world because everyone is.

Get Out and Communicate and Interact with Others

 Experiencing society in the space between being at the center and not being at the center means to be exposed to many different worldviews and diverse feedback, and even noise and silence. By confronting things and noticing others’ differences, we take the first step into a world unknown. This graduate school not only offers the standard lectures and seminars but also provides many opportunities to meet other students and researchers. Examples include the research center run by the teaching staff with researchers from other graduate schools and universities, joint research conferences, symposiums, workshops, and the graduate school’s academic association, the Association of Global Studies. When you realize how your own research differs from the interests and accomplishments of other researchers, a new perspective will come to light.

Think Critically

 The word critical comes from two Greek words: kritikos, which means to differentiate, distinguish, or judge, and kriterion, which means a standard. In other words, critical contains the meaning “to judge or decide something based on a standard.” Regardless of whether we are conscious of it or not, we are constantly differentiating things and making judgments based on a specific worldview. For example, consider how you view gender. We make judgments like “this job is for women” when faced with phenomena that includes everything from attitude to language use and behavior. Such judgments may not apply to certain people or communities. Being critical means to examine and reflect on what standards the judgments you automatically make about other people, communities, or nations are based on, the origin of that basis, and whether there are other possible ways to judge something.

Have Fun, and Find Joy Even When You Stumble

 If we take a deeper look at what critical means, it makes sense that it has the same roots as the word crisis. Facing crises forces us to make different decisions than we normally would or make decisive decisions; and questioning the standards by which we judge or decide something leads to critical experiences that could undermine our identity. In conducting research, we sometimes fall into a crisis. But the word crisis also shares its roots with the word chance.
 Walk the path of research on the earth with a certain interest. When exploring that interest, never forget the joy you felt when you first discovered it, even in circumstances where you would lose heart. It is the joy of encountering the unknown and of connecting with others. If you are afraid you may lose that joy, share your concerns with someone because a crisis is none other than a chance to find a new connection.

Dean, the Graduate School of Global Studies