Good Stories: Japanese Visual Narratives
This class draws on theories of narrative from Western and Asian art and literature to explore various examples of Japanese visual storytelling. Lectures will survey the history of illustrated narratives in Japan from the seventh to twenty-first centuries, emphasizing close visual, textual, and historical analyses. Class discussions explore a range of issues concerning narrative in Japan, including visual modes of storytelling in the scroll format, concepts of literary and pictorial genres in the pre-modern period, and the functions of picture scrolls as tools of persuasion, repositories for nostalgic visions of the classical past, vehicles for the mythologization of religious institutions, and sites for satiric representation. The objects to be analyzed range from eighth century scrolls depicting the life of the Buddha to modern animation (anime and manga)and children's books, with special emphasis on illustrated texts of all periods. The course assumes no previous exposure to the cultures or languages of Japan, and all students are welcome to attend.
Textbooks/Other Materials: There is no required textbook for this class.
Course Requirements: Apart from background reading and participation in class (30%), your required coursework will include one short essay (20%), a final research project and presentation (30%), and a portfolio of short special assignments to be completed throughout the semester (20%).
Intended Audience: Undergraduates at any level with an interest in art, storytelling, and/or Japanese culture
Class Format: Two eighty-minute meetings per week with some lecture; primarily discussion of the visual materials and readings.
Estimated Cost of Materials: $0-$50
HISTART Distribution Requirements: C. Asia (Includes China, Japan, India, South/Southeast Asia and the Pacific), 2. Medieval, 4. Modern and Contemporary
This course fulfills the LSA Humanities Distribution requirement.