Japanese Language and Literature Courses
Japanese 1A is designed to develop basic Japanese language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will learn the Japanese writing system: hiragana, katakana and approximately 150 kanji. At the end of the course, students should be able to greet, invite, compare, and describe persons and things, activities, intensions, ability, experience, purposes, reasons, and wishes. Grades will be determined on the basis of attendance, quiz scores, homework and class participation.
An introduction to Japanese literature in translation in a two-semester sequence. 7B provides a survey of important works of 19th- and 20th-century Japanese fiction, poetry, and cultural criticism. The course will explore the manner in which writers responded to the challenges of industrialization, internationalization, and war. Topics include the shifting notions of tradition and modernity, the impact of Westernization on the constructions of the self and gender, writers and the wartime state, literature of the atomic bomb, and postmodern fantasies and aesthetics. All readings are in English translation. Techniques of critical reading and writing will be introduced as an integral part of the course.
The goal of this course is for the students to understand the language and culture required to communicate effectively in Japanese. Some of the cultural aspects covered are; geography, speech style, technology, sports, food, and religion. Through the final project, students will learn how to discuss social issues and their potential solutions. In order to achieve these goals, students will learn how to integrate the basic linguistics knowledge they acquired in J1, as well as study new structures and vocabulary. An increasing amount of reading and writing, including approximately 200 new kanji, will also be required.
The goal of this course is for the students to understand the more advanced language and culture required to communicate effectively in Japanese. Some of the cultural aspects covered are; pop-culture, traditional arts, education, convenient stores, haiku, and history. Through the final project, students will learn how to introduce their own cultures and their influences. In order to achieve these goals, students will learn how to integrate the basic structures and vocabulary they acquired in the previous semesters, as well as study new linguistic expressions. An increasing amount of more advanced reading and writing, including approximately 200 new kanji, will also be required. Prerequisites: Japan 10A; or consent of instructor.
This course is intended to train students who wish to acquire reading fluency in the Japanese language in a short time period and therefore dispenses with all components not germane to that goal. Prior knowledge of fundamental first-year grammar and vocabulary is required as this course will start at the second-year level and run parallel with our full-language second-year courses, covering the same reading materials as used in J10A-B. The course will be conducted in English and students’ comprehension will be examined and analyzed in terms of Japanese-to-English translation. By completion of J10RB, students will be functional readers of Japanese for general purposes. Prerequisite: J10RA or consent of instructor.
Introduction to Japanese culture from its origins to the present: premodern historical, literary, artistic, and religious developments, modern economic growth, and the nature of contemporary society, education, and business. Class conducted in English.
This course aims to develop further context-specific skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. It concentrates on students using acquired grammar and vocabulary with more confidence in order to express functional meanings, while increasing overall linguistic competence. Students will learn approximately 200 new Kanji. There will be a group or individual project. Course materials include the textbook supplemented by newspapers, magazine articles, short stories, essays, and video clips which will provide insight into Japanese culture and society. Prerequisites: Japan 100A; or consent of instructor.
This exploratory graduate seminar, co-taught by Mark Blum (East Asian Languages and Cultures/Buddhist Studies) and Greg Levine (History of Art), focuses on the study of race, class, and gender within the Buddhist tradition, its doctrinal, ritual, and institutional histories as well as visual and material cultures. Possible topics include: race and gender/racism and mysogyny in medieval Buddhist textual genre; gender prohibitions at sacred sites; the visual-material cultures of Japan’s imperial convents; British colonial archaeology of Indian Buddhist sites; Buddhist pan-Asianism and anti-imperial/colonial efforts by modern Buddhist teachers and lay writers; inherent racism at the World’s Parliament of Religions; orientalist/white supremacist formations of “Buddhist Studies”; anti-caste prejudice actions taken by Buddhist institutions, such as Higashi Honganji; debates about gender and lineage; race and gender in twentieth-century diaspora and convert Buddhisms; Buddhism in the Japanese WWII internment camps; racialized and sexualized representations of Buddhism in popular culture; anti-racism, anti-sexism teachings in/actions by contemporary Buddhist communities; and so on. Participants may take the seminar for two or four units. Assignments will include weekly readings and written commentary, turns leading discussion, and for four units, a focused research-based essay. Knowledge of Asian languages is not required, but students with such knowledge will be asked to contribute from their readings and work with primary and secondary sources in these languages. The seminar is also open to students outside Buddhist Studies and art history with interests in race, class, gender, and decolonization in the study of religions and the humanities.
Beauty: a topic both ubiquitous and perplexing. This Townsend Center Collaborative Research Seminar approaches beauty from multiple disciplines and through a wide variety of materials: literature the visual and performative arts aesthetic theory philosophy and religion. Our aim is to investigate the value and function that has been assigned to beauty in different humanist contexts to explore possible bases of commonality and influence and to consider whether beauty has or should be a key critical term for contemporary scholarship.