The 27th annual conference of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies will be held at Emory University in Atlanta, GA on January 24–25, 2020 at the Emory Conference Center Hotel. This year’s main theme is Inclusivity and Exclusivity in Japanese Literature. We welcome papers that approach this topic from a broad range of perspectives: as a textual theme, as a component of literary scholarship, and as a question relevant to the discipline and its practitioners.
From Prince Shōtoku’s seventeen-article constitution to the present era of Reiwa, the figure of “harmony” has often been invoked in Japanese literary and cultural history. At the same time, estrangement from the collective has been an equally prevalent theme: experienced by both the exiled courtiers of ancient myths and by the alienated protagonists of modern novels. How has the dynamic of inclusivity and exclusivity functioned as an enduring focus of literary texts? How might we relate the processes of inclusion and exclusion to other questions of interest in literary study such as canonicity, periodization, and identity formation (including national, gender and sexuality, and ethnicity)? What are the stakes involved in drawing boundaries and forging definitions for categories such as center and periphery, or ga/high culture and zoku/popular culture?
How might we extend these questions into more meta-level issues such as interdisciplinary and cross-regional studies, definitions of Japanese literature, forms engagement with diverse communities, and accessibility of research materials and other resources?
Sub-themes that panels and papers may address include, but are not limited to, the following:
• exile and alienation
• definitions of Japanese literature (kokubungaku / Nihon bungaku / Nihongo bungaku)
• genre (how are categories shaped? how does this shape reading? how do genres combine and interact?)
• boundaries of literature and other disciplines, such as history, art, religion
• Japanese Studies in relation to Asian Studies or Asian-American studies
• diasporic literature
• boundaries of medium (literature and film, manga, music, performance art)
• disability in Japanese literature
• divisions and factions within literary history
• the practice of literary research (access to libraries and archives)
Inquiries about the conference can be addressed to the program committee at ccrowle [at] emory.edu or ajls2020Emory [at] gmail.com.
Further information will be posted here as soon as it is available.