East Asian Languages and Cultures | Society and Education in Japan (Graduate)
E554 | 27229 | Rubinger, R.


The theme of E354 this semester will be the impact and meanings of
the spread of literacy among the non-elite sectors of Japanese
society in the Early Modern Period (roughly the late 16th to the
early 20th centuries). Among the broad questions to be considered
will be: Who benefits from the spread of literacy? Who loses out
when technologies of communication improve? Who is threatened? What
are the primary determinants of literacy spread? How might
understand the nature of literacy in the past help us to understand
the social impact of computers and the internet in our own day?

We will look at how conflict in Tokugawa villages provided
political motivations for literacy for some. We will also look at
the implications for literacy of expanding commercial opportunities.
Book publishing and lending libraries in the cities will be studied
along with poetry salons and scholarly networks in provincial areas.
We will look at the rise of provincial literati in the 18th century,
and the proliferation of writing schools in the 19th. Finally we
will consider the persistence of illiteracy in Japan and the reasons
for it.
There will be short written responses to readings, a midterm, and
a final examination.

3 credits
Class meets with EALC-E 354