Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Recitations: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session
This course examines the literature and cinema of Japan, including major written works from the 7th century to the present though emphasizing modern fiction, and major films from the 1920s to the present. Literature in the form of historical fiction, novels, short stories and poetry will be coordinated with a wide range of feature films to explore issues of narrative style, the production of meaning in diverse cultural and historical contexts, and the shifting ground of Japanese aesthetics and culture. One of the themes we will consider is cross-cultural adaptations, as images and ideas move from the West to Japan, and from Japan to the West. As a communication intensive course, the class requires substantial writing, individual student presentations, and class discussion, and therefore class attendance and participation are mandatory. Films will be screened outside of normal class meeting times, and, whenever possible, a video copy will be available from the Film Office for students who cannot attend the screening.
Writing and Speaking Assignments as a Communication Intensive Course
Communication intensive subjects in the humanities, arts, and social sciences require at least 20 pages of writing divided among a number of assignments, at least one of which is revised and resubmitted. This class requires four (4) papers that total at least 21 pages in length (double-spaced). The third essay will be graded and returned to you for your revision and resubmission. This resubmission will receive a grade separate from the grade on the first draft and will be based on the extent and quality of the revision (e.g., a B paper that is poorly revised may receive a C for the resubmission). A schedule of due dates is given below.
HASS-CI subjects also offer students substantial opportunity for oral expression, through class discussion and student presentations. This class requires all students to participate in a weekly discussion of the assigned reading and films. In addition, each student will make one formal 10-15 minute presentation that will be graded by the instructor. To guarantee sufficient attention to student writing and substantial opportunity for oral expression, the number of students in this class is limited to 18.
Kirino, Natsuo. Out. Reprint ed. New York, NY: Vintage, 2005. ISBN: 1400078377.
Abe, Kobo. The Woman in the Dunes. Reissue ed. New York, NY: Vintage, 1991. ISBN: 0679733787.
Murakami, Haruki. Kafka on the Shore. Reprint ed. New York, NY: Vintage, 2006. ISBN: 1400079276.
Schedule of Assignments and Grading Breakdown
Assignments will be distributed at least 2 weeks prior to due date.
I reserve the right to adjust these percentages slightly.
|2 Microthemes (1 page each, 5% each)
|Essay 1 (5 pages)
|Essay 2 First Version (5 pages)
|Essay 2 Revision (7 pages, adding 2-3 pages and revision)
|Essay 3 (7-8 pages)
|Class Participation (attendance, discussion, preparation)
|Oral Presentations Related to Final Essay
There will be no final exam.
Grading of Written Work
Written work will be graded according to three criteria:
Is there a coherent thesis? How clearly is the argument stated in the introduction and developed throughout the paper? Do the steps of the argument make sense and lead logically to the conclusion?
How well does the essay use the evidence available from the class materials (readings, lectures, films)? Are there contradictory examples that should be discussed to eliminate doubts?
How well is the paper written? Has it been carefully proofread? Are there clever turns of phrase, interesting transitions, a catchy opening and conclusion? Does the paper length match the assignment?
Student presentations will take place during the final few weeks of class (10-15 min. each, depending on number of students.
Oral presentations will be graded according to the following criteria:
- Does the oral discussion demonstrate a facility with the course materials?
- How well organized is the presentation?
- How well does the student communicate his/hers ideas, questions, and insights?
||Introduction to the Class
||The Pressure of Daily Life
||Essay 1 due
||Gender and Sexuality
||Contemporary and Traditional Japan
||The Making of Anime
||Essay 2 first version due
||Uses of the Absurd
||Essay 2 revision due
||Concluding Thoughts / Further Questions
||Essay 3 due