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Image/Text in Pre-modern Japan


Admission requirements

Students admitted to MA Asian Studies. Otherwise, please contact instructors.


This seminar will examine discourses on the interaction between image and text with specific reference to in pre-modern Japan (i.e. until 1868). Starting point is the assumption that the image-text relationship is a crucial one to pre-modern Japan and that a mono-disciplinary approach has its limits in analyzing many sources from Japan’s cultural past. The seminar begins with contemporary theories concerning the relationship between images and words and moves on to a number of case studies that take-up specific sets (or “genres”) of image-text relationships in Japanese cultural history, such as paintings, ukiyo-e prints, narrative scrolls paintings (emaki), and calligraphy. The seminar also examines a range of readings of scholarly works on these materials from art-historical, visual, and literary studies and probes the possibilities of combining these disciplines in order to think critically about the way they interact.
The course aims to introduce students to a range of exemplary scholarly texts in visual, art historical and literary studies in English and (for those who are able) Japanese; to develop an awareness of relevant approaches, methodologies and schools; to develop a knowledge of the multi-disciplinary way in which such approaches interact in the academic study of Japanese pre-modern cultures and societies; to give students the capacity to react critically to different approaches and form their own scholarly responses.


FAT (intensive) course




participation (including presentation) 35%
4 position papers 25%
1 term paper (± 2500 words) 40%.


Blackboard is beschikbaar afhankelijk van het cursuselement.


to follow.


Inschrijven via uSis is verplicht.


Bij de docent, zie het rooster.