Virtual Exchange Between Sophia University in Japan and The University of Montana
This fall, 11 students from the University of Montana's School of Theater and Dance studied and collaborated with 44 students from Sophia University's Liberal Arts program. The collaboration resulted from the University of Montana's and Sophia University's participation in the ACE/IIGE Rapid Response Virtual Exchange/Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Transformation Lab this summer and fall. Professors Alessia Carpoca (UM) and Noriko Murai (Sophia University) led the four-week course module which examined the Western imagination of Japan that arose in the modern period by tracing the evolution of the “Madama Butterfly” myth and by reflecting on its persistence to this day through exploration of two representative theatrical productions: Madama Butterfly, the early 20th-century Italian opera by Puccini, and M. Butterfly, a late 20th-century Broadway play that critically reflects on the Butterfly myth from an Asian American perspective.
Students from UM's Costume Design class and Sophia University's Art History class met on Zoom for discussions and lectures and then collaborated in small groups to create a mood board displaying their vision for costumes from either Madama Butterfly or M.Butterfly. Students from both universities said the COIL course was enjoyable, especially during this time of limited mobility due to the pandemic. In the words of one student, "It was really fun to collaborate with UM. Since I was very disappointed by the cancellation of my exchange program this year, I was so happy to have such a very globalized course. I wish we could have more classes! Thank you so much for such a very interesting class!"