Comparative Literature | Japanese-Western Studies
C574 | 1196 | Jones

Topic:	Gender Play in Literature and Art, Japanese and Western
Prof. Jones	T	4:00-5:15           BH 240

This course will explore the semiological fluidity of gender
chiefly in Japanese literature and the arts in comparison with western
examples.  A "liquid" structure is proposed as an alternative to a
phallo-centric way of thinking.  Students will be briefly introduced to
fundamental Japanese thought-- religious (Shintoist and Buddhist),
intellectual (Confucian and "Nativist"), political (imperial and feudal),
and psychoanalytical (Benedict, Doi and others).  Selected readings from
Freud, Barthes, Bataille, Deleuze, Butler and others will provide
theoretical grounds for our discussion.  The course itself will not take a
single or cohesive theoretical perspective but will experiment with as
wide a range of concepts as possible.  Each member of the course, however,
is encouraged to develop a firm theoretical/ critical position during the
semester as well as bringing into discussions his/ her knowledge of a
non-Japanese literature.  Topics will include: gender and
homoeroticism in ancient courtly literature, midieval no plays, and early
modern ukiyoe art and literature; transsexuality in theatre from early
modern kabuki to current TV shows, debates on object choice in sex
manuals; androgyny and the function of beautiful boys/ girls in the arts
from classics to current film and manga comics.  Primary texts will
include: The Tales of Ise (a verse tale), Pining Wind and The Well-Cradle
(no plays), Saikaku's The Great Mirror of Male Love (short stories),
Nanboku's Scarlet Princess and Mokuami's Benten Boy
(kabuki), Tanizaki's Quicksand, Mishima's Forbidden Colors, and
Matsuura Rieko's The Education of P. Thumb. The chief texts from western
literature are: Mann's Death in Venice, Masoch's Venus in Furs, Barthes'
S/Z,  Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, M. Butterflly, Paris is Burning, and
other films will be studied.

No knowledge of the Japanese language or culture is needed, and
readings will be entirely in English.   Works of which English
translations are not available will be introduced in excerpts translated
by the instructor and by some of the members of the course.   Students
registered for J653 are required to read selected Japanese materials in
the original.  Since the design of the course should reflect the special
interests of individual members, interested students are asked to talk to
the instructor as soon as possible.  This course is open to graduate
students only.

Many of the texts for this course contain candid and colloquial
expressions in reference to sexual organs and acts and it is important for
the course that sexuality is discussed openly and with respect (i.e., no
euphemism will be used).  For this reason this course is strictly intended
for those students whose religious or social beliefs find no conflict with
such language and materials.