Japanese Studies (Spring)

Japanese Studies (Spring)

East Asian and Japanese Studies (EALC)

2019 Spring Semester

EALC002 – Introduction to Japanese Civilization
This is an introductory course which includes a historical survey and topical discussions of Japan today. What are the main features of Japanese civilization, in what contexts did they develop, and how do they function in today’s world? What do contemporary Japanese people think of their own culture and tradition? What are some of the important debates and controversies about Japanese history and society? No prior knowledge about Japan is assumed, and the class will be conducted in English. Guest lectures will feature Penn’s top specialists in Japanese Studies. There will be frequent use of audio-visual material, and scheduled visits to museum collections and exhibits. A selection of optional lectures, films, and activities will supplement coursework.
Instructor: Ayako Kano

EALC015 – Introduction to Buddhism
This course seeks to introduce students to the diversity of doctrines held and practices performed by Buddhists in Asia. By focusing on how specific beliefs and practices are tied to particular locations and particular times, we will be able to explore in detail the religious institutions, artistic, architectural, and musical traditions, textual production and legal and doctrinal developments of Buddhism over time and within its socio-historical context. Religion is never divorced from its place and its time. Furthermore, by geographically and historically grounding the study of these religions we will be able to examine how their individual ethic, cosmological and soteriological systems effect local history, economics, politics, and material culture. We will concentrate first on the person of the Buddha, his many biographies and how he has been followed and worshipped in a variety of ways from Lhasa, Tibet to Phrae, Thailand. From there we touch on the foundational teachings of the Buddha with an eye to how they have evolved and transformed over time. Finally, we focus on the practice of Buddhist ritual, magic and ethics in monasteries and among aly communities in Asia and even in the West. This section will confront the way Buddhists have thought of issues such as “Just-War,” Women’s Rights and Abortion. While no one quarter course could provide a detailed presentation of the beliefs and practices of Buddhism, my hope is that we will be able to look closely at certain aspects of these religions by focusing on how they are practiced in places like Nara, Japan or Vietnam, Laos.
Instructor: Justin Mcdaniel

EALC071- Modern Japanese History
This course will survey the dramatic story of transformation from feudal to modern Japan. It fulfills the College Requirement in History and Tradition and the College Foundational Requirement in Cross-Cultural Analysis. In addition to providing a general narrative of events from 1600 to the present, it will expose students to fundamental principals of historical and cross-cultural analysis. Following the History and Tradition requirement, students will learn to interpret primary sources, to understand how knowledge is constructed, and to recognize how interpretive frameworks change over time. Following the Cross-Cultural Analysis requirement, students will learn how to interpret developments outside the historical and cultural framework of the United States.
Instructor: Frederick R. Dickinson

EALC151/551 – Contemporary Fiction & Film in Japan
This course will explore fiction and film in contemporary Japan, from 1945 to the present. Topics will include literary and cinematic representation of Japan s war experience and post-war reconstruction, negotiation with Japanese classics, confrontation with the state, and changing ideas of gender and sexuality. We will explore these and other questions by analyzing texts of various genres, including film and film scripts, novels, short stories, manga, and academic essays. Class sessions will combine lectures, discussion, audio-visual materials, and creative as well as analytical writing exercises. The course is taught in English, although Japanese materials will be made available upon request. No prior coursework in Japanese literature, culture, or film is required or expected; additional secondary materials will be available for students taking the course at the 600 level. Writers and film directors examined may include: Kawabata Yasunari, Hayashi Fumiko, Abe Kobo, Mishima Yukio, Oe Kenzaburo, Yoshimoto Banana, Ozu Yasujiro, Naruse Mikio, Kurosawa Akira, Imamura Shohei, Koreeda Hirokazu, and Beat Takeshi.
Instructor: Ayako Kano

EALC154 – Topics in Japanese Art: Ukiyo-E
This course will focus on Japanese woodblock prints, printed books, and paintings from the seventeenth through the mid-nineteenth century in the genre of ukiyo-e. Among questions we will consider are: How did Ukiyo-e or the pictures of the floating world emerge as a genre and what was at stake for its makers and consumers? What are new approaches that we can use for the field? Topics will include themes shown in prints ( celebrity actors and courtesans, the landscape and others), specific artists and their works. We will study original works held in the Kislak Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as other local collections as available, and we will work with emerging digital humanities tools for individual and group projects.
Instructor: Julie Davis

EALC176 – Japan: The Age of the Samurai
Who (or what) where the samurai? What does it mean to say that Japan had an “Age of the Samurai”? In popular imagination, pre-modern Japan has long been associated with its hereditary warrior class. Countless movies have explored the character and martial prowess of these men. Yet warriors constituted but a tiny portion of the societies they inhabited and ruled, and historians researching medieval Japan have turned their attentions to a great range of subjects and to other classes (elite and commoner alike). This class is designed to acquaint students with the complex and diverse centuries that have been called the “Age of the Samurai”-roughly, the years between ca. 1110 and 1850. In the course of the semester, we will explore the central themes in the historiography of warrior society, while introducing some of the defining texts that have shaped our imagination of this age (from laws to epic poems, from codes of conduct to autobiographies).
Instructor: David Spafford

EALC256/656 – The Tale of Genji
“Crowning masterpiece of Japanese literature,” “the world’s first novel,” “fountainhead of Japanese literary and aesthetic culture,” “a great soap opera in the vein of Jacqueline Susann.” Readers over the centuries have praised the Tale of Genji, the monumental prose tale finished just after the year 1000, in a variety of ways. In this course we will read the latest English translation of Murasaki Shikibu’s work. We will watch as Genji loses his mother at a tender age, is cast out of the royal family, and begins a quest to fill the void she left. Along the way, Genji’s loyalty to all the women he encounters forges his reputation as the ideal lover. We will consider gender issues in the female author’s portrayal of this rake, and question the changing audience, from bored court women to censorious monks, from adoring nationalists to comic book adaptors. Study of the tale requires consideration of poetry, imagery, costume, music, history, religion, theater, political and material culture, all of which will be components of the course. We will also trace the effect of the tale’s many motifs, from flora and fauna to murderously jealous spirits, on later literature and conceptions of human emotions. All material is in English translation. There are no prerequisites.
Instructor: Linda H. Chance

EALC264/664 – Law and Violence
This course will be an exploration of premodern Japanese history through the lens of violence. The centuries under consideration (roughly, the eighth thought nineteenth) were characterized by greatly varying levels of violence, both of the state-sanctioned variety (war, punishments for law-breakers and political losers) and of the non-sanctioned variety (piracy, banditry, warrior and peasant rebellions). Examining a wide variety of translated sources, from diaries to chronicles, from legal codes to fiction, we shall examine the changing social, political, economic, and cultural contexts of violence, in order to interrogate not only why certain periods were remarkably peaceful while others were not, but also why violence took different forms in relation to different circumstances. We shall consider how contempories made sense of the violence that surrounded them (or didn’t) and how they divided the acceptable use of force from the wanton and society-threatening abuse of it. The course will feature presentations and severl (very short) papers.
Instructor: David Spafford

EALC502 – Japanese History and Civilization
This seminar introduces students to the graduate-level study of Japan. In addition to getting a broad overview of Japanese culture, students in the course will develop familiarity with major debates in the history of the field of Japanese studies. The course also provides basic training in using primary and secondary sources in Japanese, Japanese bibliographic conventions, and other skills necessary for pursuing advanced research or a teaching career in the field. Open to all graduate students and to undergraduates with permission from the instructor. Familiarity with Japanese language is a plus but is not required.
Instructor: Linda H. Chance

EALC541 – Topics Asian History: Modern Japanese History
Topics vary according to professor’s field.
Instructor: Frederick R. Dickinson

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