New Fall 2016 Course on Monsters, Demons, and Ghosts: Folklore and Festival in Japan

Dr. Caleb Carter, the Japan Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Japanese Studies, will teach a new course on Monsters, Demons, and Ghosts: Folklore and Festival in Japan (AS.310.309) this fall. This course examines popular narratives and festivals from historical through contemporary Japan. Rather than traditional sources (canonical works, philosophical doctrines, and high art), it focuses on non-elite modes of expression: oral histories, epic tales, local legends, stories of the supernatural, music, religious festivals, manga, anime, and film. Through analyses of these mediums, students explore the underlying belief structures that have shaped ideas concerning death and the afterlife, moral ethics, and the spiritual realm in Japan. The course also tackles issues concerning the intellectual construct of the ‘folk’ and folk religion. Who are the folk? How does this concept relate to regional versus national identity, civilized versus so-called primitive populations, premodern versus modern categories? Students will engage these questions through active discussions in the classroom, writing assignments, and presentations. This course will meet on T/Th 12-1:15 in Shaffer 302.