Honors | Medieval Cultures: Samurai Culture
M200 | 3483 | Kierstead


Towards the end of the twelfth century, a Japanese aristocrat,
lamenting the ruin he observed around him, sighed, "How few are the
houses that were there of old. Great houses have crumbled into hovels
and those who dwell in them have fallen no less.  Truly it has become
a warrior's world."

In this course we'll take a less despairing look at the samurai and
their world. One of Japan's most recognizable figures, the follower of
the "way of the bow and arrow," has become an icon capable of standing
for everything from the pre-World War II military state, to the skill
and efficiency of Japanese business in the 1980s, to the fabled
stoicism and forbearance of the Japanese population. We'll try to take
apart some of the mythology surrounding the samurai by examining the
medieval origins and development of the warrior class. We'll
investigate the historical reality of warrior life along with the
legends, the war tales (with their depictions of superhuman
derring-do) and the more humble facts of warfare and training and
daily life. The elaboration of the warrior ethos will be a topic of
special concern as we investigate the ways the warrior's world found
expression in religion, art, and literature. For comparative purposes,
we'll take a brief look at Europe and the mythology and ethos of the
figure of the knight.

The course carries Intensive Writing credit, so you can expect to do a
lot of writing (and rewriting); credit is given only for MEST M200 or
EALC E203 on this topic.

COAS Intensive Writing Section

This course has been approved for Cultural Studies credit.

Jointly offered with EALC E203.