This course looks at the history and development of Japanese manga, paying particular attention to narrative and visual features of the form and its growing international reception in the decades after the second world war. We will analyze multiple popular manga series (Akira, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Death Note, and more) through theories of postmodern Japanese technology, gender, nationhood, family, fandom, translation, and visual culture. Manga studies is a growing field of critical analysis, and our course will look at how manga as an object can be important to the fields of literary and visual studies and their intersections. We will also look at how manga’s adaptation into televised anime has become one of Japan’s main cultural exports and a dominant way of viewing contemporary Japanese society and culture.
The Junior Research Seminar (JRS) is designed to introduce students to a variety of literary research methods and academic writing skills. Assignments will include visual close-reading exercises, student-led discussions, and a final research project (10-15 pg. critical paper or creative research project). No previous knowledge of Japanese is necessary to enroll in this course.