Syllabus+Winter+2008 - Asian Studies 302 Winter 2008...

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Asian Studies 302, Winter 2008 Rewriting Identities in Modern Japan T, Th, 2:30-4:00, 2306 Mason Hall Ken K. Ito [email protected] 5127 Thayer Building, Office Hours: Thursdays 4:10-5:00 764-2023 Office Hours: Th, 4:10-5 and By Appointment This course examines how Japanese novels and short stories written after 1868 engage the issues of national, cultural, and social identities. The inquiry in the course will simultaneously move in two directions: We will examine how fiction written in an age of national print-capitalism participates in the work of building a shared understanding of a nation and its people. But we will also see how the same fiction can spotlight divisions of gender, sexual orientation, class, generation, and region. Using the fiction written by some of the best known of Japanese writers, the course will pursue its inquiries on both formal and thematic levels. Attention will be paid to how different narrative genres and techniques either erase or emphasize social differences. How do Japanese novels help to construct what Benedict Anderson would call the "imagined community" of the nation? How is the Japanese "self" narrated into being? How are competing visions of the "modern" and the "traditional" addressed in the search for identity?
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