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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Part II | Option | Convenor: Dr Victoria Young

Course Description 2023-24

This advanced seminar presents an opportunity to read a fascinating range of lesser-studied works of Japanese literature that is designed to broaden students’ awareness of the kinds of texts produced in Japanese, to train skills in close reading and literary analysis, and to engage key questions at the cutting edge of contemporary Japanese literary studies. Students will be required to read primary and secondary materials both in English and in Japanese. The selection of texts chosen to analyses is subject to change each year. However, the syllabus is invariably guided by the following aims: to challenge the canon of modern Japanese literature by placing focus on texts written in the margins (e.g. writing from Okinawa) and borders (e.g. “trans-border” literature); to interrogate the role and meaning of translation; and to consider what it means to decolonise and deconstruct in the context of Japanese literature.

In the academic year 2023-2024, teaching of J15 will be split between Dr Young (Michaelmas) and Professor Juliana Buriticá Alzate (Lent & Easter) due to Dr Young’s sabbatical. Readings will relate to themes of war, empire, disaster, and trauma.

Form and Conduct

The coursework that constitutes this paper’s assessment consists of one research essay of between 6,000 and 7,500 words, including footnotes and excluding bibliography. Each student will develop the topic of the essay in consultation with the instructor. A one-page topic and paper outline plus a bibliography will be due in Week 8 of Michaelmas Term. One electronic copy (pdf) of the research essay shall be submitted to the Programmes Administrator in the Faculty Office so as to arrive not later than the division of Full Easter Term.


This description is subject to change, for the latest information, students should consult the Undergraduate Handbook available on the Faculty Intranet.


Terms taught
Michaelmas, Lent
Michaelmas, Lent