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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Spring 2009

ANS 372 • Nature and Environment in Premodern Japanese Culture

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
30555 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
PAR 103

Course Description

This course will examine how 'nature' and 'the natural' were conceptualized in pre-modern Japanese culture, and how this understanding was expressed both in imaginative expression in literary texts and performance, as well as in individual and governmental interaction with the environment. Primary sources studied will include myth, courtly and popular literature, and religious texts, especially those focusing on the spiritual, moral, and symbolic relations between humans, animals, plants, and landscape, including reclusion and 'liberation of animals'. We will also examine how love, gender roles/relations, and sexuality are construed as either 'innate' or 'constructed'; to what extent contemporary theory may throw light on pre-modern Japanese practices; and how pre-modern Japanese nature and environment is visualized in modern, especially contemporary, representations of the world of the distant Japanese past. All Japanese materials will be studied in translation, so no knowledge of Japanese will be required.

Grading Policy

Three essays 30% (5 pp. each) Midterm 20% Term paper 20% (15 pp.) Participation 30% (Attendance, Discussion, 2 Short Presentations)


Rodd, Laurel Rasplica. Kokinshû: A Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern. Tyler, Royall. Japanese Tales. Ponting, Clive. A New Green History of the World. Penguin, 2007. Colapinto, John. As Nature Made Him: The Boy who was Raised as a Girl (P.S). Harper, 2006.


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