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AM Seminar Performing Arts



This course introduces Japanese performing arts with an emphasis on the re-imagination, hybridization and commodification of established traditions. Classes will not only provide students with the fundamental knowledge on theatrical and musical traditions such as Kagura, Gagaku, Noh, Kabuki and Bunraku, but will also cover so-called Japanese modernization and its Euro-American influences, avant-garde experimentations and recent musical expressions such as Enka, J-pop and hip-hop.
The course will address the complex relationship between society and the performing arts throughout the history of Japan, essentially moving on a diachronic axis that spans from the encounter with several Asian creative manifestations in the sixth century to present-day scenarios. It will bring back together ritual, music and dance, showing that their analytical disentanglement is both historically constructed and ethnocentric.
Exploring and experiencing the worlds of Japanese performing arts through a combination of primary sources, critical readings and audio-visual examples will offer a gateway to broader debates on identity formation, transcultural flows and cultural nationalism, amplifying the possibility to make connections across Japanese social domains.

Course objectives

Students will
1. Familiarize with major traditions in Japanese performing arts;
2. Acquire a basic understanding of their performance, transmission and historical developments;
3. Develop critical competencies towards interdisciplinary-oriented analysis;
4. Expand skills in academic reading and writing, media-enhanced oral presentation and conducting independent research.


See timetable.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total course load: 140 hours

Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 28 hours
Readings (approx. 40 pages per week) + Assignments (Blackboard posts, presentation): 6 hours X 12 weeks= 72 hours
Paper writing: 40 hours

Assessment method

Participation and assignments: 30%
Mid-term analytic paper (1500 words): 30%
Final paper (2,000-2,500 words): 40%


Yes, see for more info Blackboard

Reading list

A selection of readings for each class will be available on Blackboard


Registration through uSis. Not registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registrationprocedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

A la carte

Contact A. Giolai.