Modernity Studies

Modernity Studies

22 August 2017 Last updated

Overview of the course

The basic framework of our contemporary society consists of three distinct realms, the techno-economic structure, the polity, and the culture. The ruling principles of these three realms, such as functionary rationality, the idea of equality, and expression & realization of “self,” originated in Western Europe with the arrival of the modern period. Today, however, these principles are proved to be discordant and are being shaken to their roots along with the progress of globalization. This situation demands a re-examination of the meaning of “modernity” and an accurate reading of just where the world is (should be) heading in the ongoing upheaval. The Modernity Studies Group covers a wide range of disciplines from social thought, economic thought,and political thought to aesthetics, literature and visual arts. Through careful analysis of the prevailing principles of the three realms of the modern world,we aim to cultivate firmly grounded capabilities of cogitation that are required for tackling actual issues in our society.

Students’ research themes

Master’s program: M. Foucault and Herculine Barbin, Peter Berger’s idea of “everyday” and religion, Alfred Schutz’s idea of “relevance”.

Doctoral program: Ernst Junger, “technology,” Niklas Luhmann, social system theory, Herbert Spencer, modernization of Japanese society, D. H.Lawrence, eco-criticism

Teaching staff

Keiko ISHIDA, Associate Professor
Subjects: Cultural Discourse.
Research fields: Aesthetics and history of art theory. Lecturer Ishida conducts her studies under such themes as the relations between art and politics in modern times and the artistic communication with others. Her research papers include “Gestalt and <Art – Political Community>” (“Theory of Criticism and Social Theory 1: Aisthesis,” Ochanomizu Shobo), etc. Her books include “Politicization of Aesthetics: Modernist Poets and Fascism” (Keio U. P.)

Naritoshi UENO, Professor
Subjects: Modern Political Thought.
Research fields: History of political and social thought. Professor Ueno analyses such key concepts as “violence,” “liberty” and “public sphere” in the form of social philosophy, focusing on the history of thought concerning the philosophers of the Frankfurt School including Horkheimer and Adorno. His books include “Frontier of the Thought ? Violence” (Iwanami Shoten).

Shigeru CHO, Professor
Subjects: Modern Social Thought.
Research fields: History of sociology and social thought. Professor Cho analyzes the meanings of such complicated concepts as society, history, culture and life in modern thought, based on the studies on the history of social thought of the Frankfurt School philosophers including Simmel, Weber and Tonnies. His books include “Human Science of Simmel” (Bokutakusha).

Rie MATSUYA, Professor
Subjects: Cultural Representation.
Research fields: English literature and philosophy. Professor Matsuya explores the contemporary meanings of Romanticism with a focus on the views of nature and sympathetic imagination. Her books include “Keats and Apollo: Ketas’ Poems and Greco-Roman Mythology” (Eihosha).


Faculty of Intercultural Studies/ Graduate School of Intercultural Studies, Kobe University
1-2-1, Tsurukabuto, Nada-ku, Kobe, JAPAN 657-8501