April 9, 2007

The 46th Meeting of Mind and Activity

Saturday, April 21, 2007

15:00 pm. - 19:00 pm.
Honkan (Main building)
Room 1555
Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo


We plan to hold three presentations.

1. Eric Hauser, "A Statement of Nihonjinron Ideology."

I will examine a transcript of part of a student discussion in an English classroom at a Japanese university. During the discussion, two of the students co-construct a statement of nihonjinron ideology. I will analyze this statement from four different perspectives, two of which are empirically grounded at the micro- level, while the other two are much more speculative. At the micro- level, I will examine how the statement is co-constructed by the two students and at the purpose it serves within the local context of a student discussion on an assigned topic. I will also engage in wild speculation regarding how the statement can be heard as a statement of an ideological position, which indexes the nihonjinron ideology, but not as an ideological statement which actually forms part of the discourse of this ideology. I will then engage in even wilder speculation as to the purposes the nihonjinron ideology serves within (parts of) Japanese society.

2. Domenic Berducci, "Learning Science in an afterschool program: Popcorn Physics."*

For this data session I will present a transcript that focuses on a small group of students (3) and their mentor (teacher) in their attempt to begin an after school science lesson (the physics of popcorn popping). The students are 5th graders at a Philadelphia public school, who voluntarily participate in the after school program. The mentor is a Univ. of Pennsylvania junior who participates in the program as part of his university requirement for social service.

* Dom's presentation will be more like a data session, than a presentation.

3. Aug Nishizaka, "Some observations from interaction at a midwife house."**

I focus on internal (vaginal) examinations cunducted by a midwife. I noticed three prominent things about interaction there: 1. pregnant women do not express their pain, as is very different form other types of examinations in medical settings; 2. the entire interaction appears to be oriented to problems brought up explicitly or implicitly in the preceding exchanges; and 3. the midwife explains what she is currently doing, the explanation having evaluative connotations related to those problems forming the orientational framework for the current interaction.

** Aug's presentation depends on how much time will be left after the other presentations.

If anybody is interested in bringing their own data, analyses, observations, arguments, or whatever, to a next meeting to discuss together, please contact Aug Nishizaka at augnish(a)soc.meijigakuin.ac.jp.