Location of Japanese Studies and the World Discursive System

Sat, Dec 10, 2016, 10:00 am

The main objective of this symposium, “Location of Japanese Studies and the World Discursive System,” is to reflect on Japanese studies primarily as a field of the humanities whose medium of scholarly production is English. The symposium tries  to  unpack  various  critical issues and challenges faced by the English-­‐language scholarship on Japanese literature, history, film, media, and other types of cultural texts in the context where the production, distribution, and reception of knowledge is no longer confined to any particular national space. This means that Japanese studies we are interested in examining is not the same as Japanese studies in the US or other English-­‐speaking countries including the UK,  Australia,  and  Canada.  Nor  does  it refer to what is now called “international Japanese studies” in Japan. Although it is increasingly used by many Japanese universities as the name of a supposedly emerging academic field, a compelling definition of international Japanese studies or kokusai Nihon kenkyū (国際日本研究) has not so far been proposed by anybody or any institution. Japanese studies as a focus of this symposium is more a projection—could be called utopian—of a possible scholarly field which may be coming into being in the near future. Even though a wide variety of issues can be discussed, particular attention needs to be paid to two core questions, which are intimately connected to each other. First, why are we discussing Japanese studies whose linguistic medium is English rather than other languages including Japanese? A simple answer to this question is that Japanese studies, like other humanities fields, can no longer shield itself from the impact of globalization. Currently, the super-­‐central language in the world language system (de Swaan) is—and for the foreseeable future, will remain—English. Of course we do  not  need  to—and should not—passively accept the global hegemony of English as an inevitable fact. However, nothing will be solved by ignoring the state of the world language system and simply re-­‐ asserting the importance of Japanese-­‐language scholarship as a main strategy for combatting the homogenization of academic discourse. Second, what is at stake is more than the choice or de facto imposition of English as a common medium of scholarly communication. Language is not a neutral tool but firmly embedded in a particular system of discursive practice. Therefore, in addition to the world language system, we must scrutinize  the  world  discursive  system, which, by relying on the super-­‐central language as a means of command and control, sets the research agenda, provides a common framework for production of knowledge, determines what can or cannot be counted as a legitimate mode of academic discourse,  and  so  on.  Japanese studies in  English  language cannot escape from the dynamics of the world  discursive system. Yet it may be possible to configure it in such a way as to make the mechanism of the world discursive system more explicitly visible or even contest its globally hegemonic rule.

The symposium is organized as a forum for free discussions. Instead of delivering a formal paper, the principle presenter of each session will be asked  to  talk  about  specific  ideas  and issues for 10-­‐15 minutes, which will then lead to open discussions with other presenters and audiences.

Mitsuhiro  Yoshimoto


10:00-­‐10:20          “Introduction” Mitsuhiro  Yoshimoto

11:25-­‐12:25          “Austerity, Accessibility, Risk: English Language, Asian Students, and the Value of Non-­‐Native Tuition” Reginald  Jackson

11:20-­‐11:30                                   Break

11:30-­‐12:30          “The Aporia of Standpoint in the US Scholarship on Post-­‐1945 Japan” Yuki Shigeto

12:30-­‐13:30          Lunch

13:30-­‐14:30          “Crisis in the Humanities and Japanese (Literary) Studies” Tomiko Yoda

14:30-­‐14:35          Break

14:35-­‐15:35          “Karatani Kojin on the End of Modern Literature” Tajiri Yoshiki

15:35-­‐15:40          Break

15:40-­‐16:40          “The Tongue God Used to Lick the World” Phil Kaffen

16:40-­‐16:45                                   Break

16:45-­‐18:00          “Sinophone Studies in (Post-­‐)Socialist Times: ‘Chinese Postsocialism’ and the Global  Imaginary” Erin Huang

18:30                       Dinner


-­‐-­‐Erin Huang, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature, Princeton University

-­‐-­‐Reginald  Jackson,  Assistant  Professor  of  Pre-­‐modern  Japanese  Literature,  University  of Michigan

-­‐-­‐Phil Kaffen, Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow of East Asian Studies, New York University

-­‐-­‐Yukiko   Shigeto,   Associate   Professor   of   Foreign   Languages   and   Literatures   (Japanese), Whitman  College

-­‐-­‐Yoshiki Tajiri, Professor of English, University of Tokyo

-­‐-­‐Tomiko Yoda, Takashima Professor of Japanese Humanities, Harvard University

-­‐-­‐Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, Visiting Professor of East Asian Studies, Princeton University; Professor of Media, Film and Visual Culture, Waseda University


Reginald  Jackson

-­‐-­‐Douglas Belkin and Miriam Jordan, “Heavy Recruitment of Chinese Students Sows Discord on

U.S. Campuses,” Wall Street Journal (March 17, 2016).­‐  recruitment-­‐of-­‐chinese-­‐students-­‐sows-­‐discord-­‐on-­‐u-­‐s-­‐campuses-­‐1458224413

-­‐-­‐Tom   Looser,  “The   Global  University,  Area   Studies,  and   the  World   Citizen:  Neoliberal Geography's Redistribution of the  ‘World’,”  Cultural Anthropology, vol. 27, no.1  (Feb. 2012),

pp.      97-­‐117.­‐Looser-­‐  global-­‐university-­‐2012.pdf

-­‐-­‐Masao Miyoshi, “Ivory Tower in Escrow,” boundary 2, vol. 27, no. 1 (Spring 2000), pp. 7-­‐50.

-­‐-­‐“Precarity Talk: A Virtual Roundtable with Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, Bojana Cvejić, Isabell  Lorey, Jasbir Puar, and Ana Vujanović,” TDR: The Drama Review, vol. 56, no. 4 (Winter 2012), pp. 163-­‐177.

Yuki Shigeto


-­‐-­‐山城むつみ、第四章「終戦」の空白ー『絶対平和論』と「マチウ書試論」、『小林秀雄とその戦争 の時ー『ドストエフスキーの文学』の空白』(新潮社、2014  年)

Tomiko Yoda

-­‐-­‐Yves Citton, “Learning to Read in the Digital Age: From Reading Texts to Hacking Codes,” PMLA

13:3   (2015).   https://hal.archives-­‐­‐01373146/document

-­‐-­‐Rita  Felski,  The  Limits  of  Critique  (University  of  Chicago  Press,  2015),  Introduction  and Chapter 4.

-­‐-­‐Gayatri Spivak, “Rethinking Comparativism” in New Literary History, Volume 40, Number 3, Summer  2009.

Tajiri Yoshiki

-­‐-­‐柄谷行人「移動と批評ートランスクリティーク」、『現代思想』(2015 年 3 月号)

-­‐-­‐柄谷行人『近代文学の終り』(インスクリプト、2005  年)

-­‐-­‐Kojin Karatani, Origins of Modern Japanese Literature (Duke UP, 1993).

Erin Huang

-­‐-­‐Shih, Shu-­‐mei. “Introduction.” Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations Across the Pacific (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).

-­‐-­‐Shih, Shu-­‐mei. “Introduction: What Is Sinophone Studies?” Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader

(New York: Columbia University Press, 2013).

“The symposium is open to all. Please contact Steven Chung ( if you are interested in attending.

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