CC 325 DX - Visions of Japan: Literature, Tourism, and Culture
3 or 4 Credits
TR 1:20-2:35 pm - Professor Prough
Cross-listed with EAST 390 AX
Fulfills cultural diversity requirement

This course aims to examine the various ways that Japanese culture has been represented to and by an international audience. We will look at the Japonisme boom at the turn of the 20th century (when Japanese art and aesthetics held great sway in Western artistic circles, from the impressionists to Frank Lloyd Wright), as well as Japan’s own engagement with the West during this same period of rapid modernization. Moving to the turn of this century we will examine recent the ways that Japan markets itself and is represented in travel literature today, asking what how is the nation/culture being (re)imagined in guide books and materials aimed at tourists. This exploration will include visual analysis of film and visual culture alongside textual representations of Japan past and present. With tourism at the center, we will think together about how we engage with another culture, particularly Japan. While Japan will be our focus, our test case, this course will be of interest to students thinking about their own experiences abroad, how those places are understood or misunderstood here, and how to write about their experiences.

Assignments: The major writing component will include weekly reflections on the material and 3 shorter (5-7) page papers.

Required texts: While the exact books are yet to be determined, they will include texts that help us think through representations of Japan in the West during the past 150 years, travel writings from and/or about Japan (poetry and literature; historical and contemporary), scholarship on approaches to travel writing and tourism, and travel guides themselves. Feel free to email me with any questions.