Japanese History 260r. Topics in Japanese Cultural History

Prof. Kuriyama
Prof. Shigehisa Kuriyama

The aims of the course in Spring 2017 are threefold:

  • To develop new perspectives on Japanese culture of the late-Edo early Meiji periods by studying the interplay of word and image in a wide diversity of books and prints. Among the themes that we will consider are: the relationship between speech, writing, and the body; the entwinement of money and life; the history of media, curiosity, and attention; and the practical uses of humor.
  • To gain facility in reading texts printed in cursive script (kuzushiji) like those on this page. We will begin with easy texts, and no prior experience with kuzushiji is supposed. Students should, however, be currently enrolled in, or already had the equivalent of fourth year Japanese.
  • To explore the fresh theoretical approaches that nineteenth century Japanese media culture suggests for the study of media and communication in general, and for our own digital age in particular.