School of Languages and CulturesAssociation for Japanese Literary StudiesCollege of Liberal Arts

Association for Japanese Literature Studies

In the fall of 1992, Drs. Roger Thomas and Eiji Sekine organized the first seminar, "Poetics of Japanese Literature." The second seminar, "The Desire for Monogatari," and the third seminar, "Theatricality and Performance," were organized consecutively in 1993 and 1994 by Dr. Sekine: All three meetings were held at Purdue University. The overall participation consisted of a nice mixture of senior and junior faculty, as well as Ph.D. candidates. The number of participants from outside the midwest increased steadily. The ambiance of the meetings was always friendly and stimulating.

The conferences were strongly supported by Purdue University's School of Languages and Cultures and the School of Liberal Arts Dean's Office. The group's activities were also recognized and sponsored by national grant agencies. The Japan-U.S. Friendship commission supported all three meetings and was the resource for the publication of the conference's proceedings. The North East Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies also supported the first and third seminars and encouraged the participation of quality keynote speakers, panelists, and discussants.

After the second meeting, a Steering Committee was formed: The members consist of Eiji Sekine (Chair), James O'Brien, Edith Sarra, Ann Sherif, Roger Thomas, and Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen (Consultant). After the third seminar, the committee decided to start a new association, the Midwest Association for Japanese Literary Studies (MAJLS), to exist financially by a membership drive. The association will continuously promote studies of Japanese literary texts (poetry, prose narrative, theater, film, criticism, and popular literature and culture) from a variety of perspectives. The main activities will include a two-day conference each fall and a publication of the conference's proceedings the following year.

The annual meeting is organized by an elected chair and held at the chair's institution. A call for papers is announced in the spring issue of the MAJLS Newsletter. Selection of proposed papers for the meeting is made by the Chair and Vice Chair (a chair-in-waiting for the coming year's meeting) of each annual meeting. A program of the meeting is published in the fall issue of the newsletter. Host institutions and chairs for conferences are scheduled in the following: University of Wisconsin (James O'Brien, Chair) for 1995, Indiana University (Edith Sarra, Chair) for 1996, University of Michigan (Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, Chair) for 1997, and University of Iowa (Thomas Rohlich, Chair) for 1998.

Eiji Sekine, Associate Professor of Japanese in the School of Languages and Cultures at Purdue, serves as Secretary/Editor of the association. His responsibilities include the publication of biannual newsletters and conference proceedings. For further inquiry, please contact him at his office phone: (765) 494-3840 or by e-mail:

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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