Bridging Akita and the American Deep South: Teaching Cultural Diversity in Local Universities and Communities


How can we raise students’ awareness of cultural diversity in local universities and communities? To answer this question, this presentation focused on Maki Eguchi’s experience as a Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant during the 2012-2013 academic year. Through teaching Japanese at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a historically black university with a land-grant designation, she experienced the cultures and values of the local region, which is characterized by a rich legacy of poverty and racial inequality. Six years later, she referred to this experience to lead public lectures in Japan titled “Black History Month in Akita and Tokyo” in February 2019, highlighting the importance of being involved in both global and local societies.


About the Presenter:

Maki Eguchi is an Assistant Professor of English at Akita Prefectural University. In 2016, she received her PhD in Literature from the University of Tsukuba. Her research interests lie in animal studies and the representation of sheep in Japanese literature. Her publications include The Semiotics of Animal Representations (2014) and The Representation of Sheep in Modern Japanese Literature: From Sōseki Natsume to Haruki Murakami (2018; written in Japanese).

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