School of Languages and CulturesAssociation for Japanese Literary StudiesCollege of Liberal Arts

Newsletter 5

I Sixth Annual Meeting

October 24-26, 1997 University of Michigan

*Call for Papers
The Midwest Association for Japanese Literary Studies will hold its sixth annual conference October 24-26, 1997, at the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan. The conference is part of the Association's project of exploring the uses and critical implications of the new approaches spawned by the theoretical and interdisciplinary turn in the Western humanities. This time we will focus on the theme THE NEW HISTORICISM IN JAPANESE LITERARY STUDIES or the issue of TEXT AND CONTEXT. We invite paper and panel proposals that examine the historical situatedness of literary texts and their interpretation, the sociopolitical and material circumstances of their production, or the various constructions of Japanese literary and/or cultural history. Possible panel topics would include questions pertaining to: the "modern" as ideology, its impact on the "premodern," and the meaning of the Japanese "postmodern"; the
narrativization of history (nation, class, clan, etc.) in literary or historical texts; in film, theater, manga or anime aesthetics, politics, and/or economics; contributions (big or small) towards illuminating the formation of the literary canon; "what is (Japanese) literature" or the history of the term bungaku and what is admitted under its aegis, the place of michi, bungei, or geido; the ideology of gender and its impact on literary transmission; issues of representation--of Heian women's writing, of love and sexuality, of Japan in Asia, of the West in Japan or Japan in the US; nihonjinron, or orientalism, and (post)colonial criticism; a critique of historicism itself. We also invite participants for a pedagogy forum on rewriting literary history and the canon for use in undergraduate classes in the light of interdisciplinarity: what would you include, exclude, and why?

- Deadline for Paper/Panel Proposals: May 15, 1997

A 1-2 page proposal, together with the form in this newsletter,
should be sent to the Conference Chair. All inquiries related to the call
for papers, as well as the annual meeting, should also be addressed to her.

Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, Conference Chair
Visiting Professor, National Institute of Japanese Literature
1-16-10 Yutaka-cho, Shinagawa-ku,
Tokyo 142, JAPAN
Office Tel 03.3785.7131, ext. 245
Fax 03.3785.4452 or 4454
Home Tel/Fax 03.3455.8699

II 1996 Meeting Report

The "Ga/Zoku Dynamics" conference was held at Indiana University on November 1-3, 1996. A wide range of papers were presented so as to discuss and examine the dynamics in the construction of Japanese literary texts. Professor Chizuko Ueno presented the keynote address in which she gave a thought-provoking overview of the history of modern literary styles as products of gendered politics. Professor Kenji Watanabe provided a major address in which he discussed the complex understanding of ga/zoku among various literary institutional leaders in Edo period. His address was supplemented by his friends and Edo specialists from Japan (Professors Kigoshi, Ibi, and Ichiko), who provided a variety of insightful remarks on the conceptualization of ga/zoku in Edo literature. The Association's first three-day meeting was thoughtfully organized by Professor Edith Sarra. Her effort, together with the IU East Asian Studies Center's extensive support, were highly appreciated by all conference participants and audience members.

III MAJLS Activities

  • Office and Officers
    • Address: MAJLS, 1359 Stanley Coulter Hall, Purdue University,
      West Lafayette, IN 47907; tel 765.496.2258; fax 765.496.1700; email
    • Secretary/Editor: Eiji Sekine
    • Conference Chair for 1997: Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen
    • Steering Committee:
      • James O'Brien (University of Wisconsin)
      • Edith Sarra (Indiana University)
      • Eiji Sekine (Purdue University)
      • Ann Sherif (Oberlin College)
      • Roger Thomas (Illinois State University)
      • Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen (Consultant, University of Michigan)
  • Annual Meeting
    An annual three-day meeting is organized by an elected Conference Chair and held at the Chair's institution. A call for papers is announced in the Spring issue of the MAJLS Newsletter. A program of the meeting is published in the Fall issue of the Newsletter.
  • PMAJLS Publication
    All papers presented during the annual meeting can be included in an officially registered serial titled PMAJLS (Proceedings of the Midwest Association for Japanese Literary Studies). "Ga/Zoku Dynamics in Japanese Literature," PMAJLS, vol. 3, is scheduled to be published in August, 1997.
  • Membership
    The annual fee is $20.00 for regular, student, and institution members ($30.00 for overseas members outside North America). Membership for 1997-98 provides you with:
    • panel participation for the 1997 meeting to be held at the University of Michigan (if your proposal is selected)
    • two newsletters--the Fall 1997 issue and Spring 1998 issue.
    • a copy of the proceedings of the '96 Meeting to be published in Summer, 1997.
    • one free copy of a back or additional current issue of the proceedings if you are a student member.

Currently, we have 110 members (the MAJLS Directory is included in this newsletter). If you have not yet joined us, please do so this time. Those who joined and received a copy of the "Revisionism" proceedings, please renew your membership now. Inquiries and orders (with checks payable to MAJLS) should be addressed to the MAJLS office.

  • Members' Voices
    Please send us your comments, suggestions, and questions regarding the MAJLS activities (opinions on the quality of annual meetings, annual proceedings, and the association's future direction would be very useful for us).

IV Hosts through the Year 2000

We have host institutions in line through the year 2000: Oberlin College for 1998 (Professor Ann Sherif, Chair), University of Colorado for 1999 (Professor Stephen Miller, Chair), and University of Notre Dame (Professor Eileen Mikals-Adachi, Chair). If you are interested in hosting the MAJLS meeting for 2001 or later, please contact the MAJLS office. Information on the organization of the past meetings is available.

V Japanese Literature Listservice

A listservice for Japanese literature has been created and is now running. In order to subscribe to this list, send to a short message that says: sub JLIT-L xyxy (put your own name in place of xyxy). You will immediately receive a confirmation and can participate in this network by sending your messages to: Subscription is free. Please join other netters from all over the world and exchange various topics and information related to Japanese literature/culture. Currently, we have around 250 subscribers. MAJLS activities are also regularly reported on this network.

VI Back Issues of the Proceedings

Back issues of the proceedings are available. Each copy is $7.00 for MAJLS members and $10.00 for non-members. Orders should be sent to the MAJLS office.

  • Poetics of Japanese Literature
    Edited by Roger Thomas and published in 1993: vi + 207p. Includes
    keynote addresses by Kawamoto Koji and Watanabe Kenji, and nine more
    essays, plus the round table discussion report.
  • The Desire for Monogatari
    Edited by Eiji Sekine and published in 1994: vi + 133p. Includes a
    keynote address by Mizuta Noriko and eleven more essays.
  • Japanese Theatricality and Performance
    Edited by Eiji Sekine and published in 1995: v + 218 p. Includes a
    keynote address by Donald Richie and eleven other essays, plus a report on
    round table discussion.
  • Revisionism in Japanese Literary Studies
    Edited by Eiji Sekine and published in 1996: vi + 336p. Includes a
    keynote address by Earl Miner, major address by Takahashi Toru and ten
    other essays, plus commentaries by panel discussants.

VII A Japanese Anthology Published

An anthology of selected and translated essays from our first two meetings was published from Shinwasha in Tokyo in 1996. The 334-page book, entitled, Uta no hibiki, monogatari no yokubo: Amerika kara yomu Nihon bungaku (Echo of poems, desire for narratives: Reading Japanese literature from America), includes seventeen essays discussing Japanese poeticity and narrativity. Inquiries and orders should be sent to: Oishi Yoshinori, Shinwasha, 2-5-9 Sarugaku-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101, JAPAN.

MAJLS Membership Form [Please fill out the form and email to:]

Name: _____________________________

Mailing Address: ____________________________________
City__________________State __________
Zip ________________________________
Tel: ________________________________
Email: ______________________________
Institution: ___________________________
( ) Regular ( ) Student
( ) Institution
If you are a student, indicate which free copy you would like:
( ) 1993 ( ) 1996
( ) 1994 ( ) 1997
( ) 1995

DEADLINE: MAY 15, 1997

[Please attach a 1-2 page proposal to this form and send to Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, National Institute of Japanese Literature, 1-16-10 Yutaka-cho, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142, JAPAN. You can also email to:]

Title: __________________________________________________________________


Name: _______________________________________________________________________

Institution: __________________________________________________________________

Mailing Address: _____________________________________________________________


Telephone (Fax and E-mail): __________________________________________________



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