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

Newsletter 11

Ninth Annual Meeting

Acts of Writing:

Language and the Construction of Identities in Japanese Literature

November 11-13, 2000

Washington University, St. Louis

Call for Papers

The AJLS welcomes paper and panel proposals that explore the issue of writing in Japan. From the early choice to overlay the indigenous spoken language with a linguistically unrelated script through Japanâs more recent interactions with western languages and new attitudes toward writing and self expression, Japanese writers have been forced time and again to confront the shifting cipher of ãJapanese-ness.ä This is true for gender and political identity, as well as for class, style, and dialect. How does the writer, and how should we as interpreters, define ã Japanese writingä? This conference aims at addressing these issues in works ranging from early records to contemporary texts by investigating the way language choice contributes to the creation of historical worlds and national identities.

Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals on related topics, including:

  • How early writers defined themselves in relation to their native culture in choosing to compose in Chinese or Japanese.

  • The use of language in the construction of official and unofficial histories

  • The extent to which the polarization of Chinese and Japanese writing and the styles associated with them represent valid categories of writing in the Heian and medieval periods

  • The relationship between a chosen mode of discourse and its object

  • The interplay of gender and language choice

  • How traditional boundaries are contested in modern works

  • How the introduction of technology and alternative means of publication push the borders of ãwritingä

  • How language defines and is defined by modernity

  • The significance of writing in a foreign language for both the Japanese writer and the nation of Japan

  • The significance of non-Japanese who write in Japanese

  • The role of translations both into and out of Japanese in redefining the boundaries of cultural property

By exploring these and other related topics, this conference will draw attention to the essential role that language plays in history and memory both within conventional discourses of the past and as challenges to them. Given our interest in the relationship between language and national identities, the organizers of this conference particularly encourage participation from scholars around the world.

Deadline for Receipt of Abstracts:

May 1, 2000

A proposal of no more than 250 words, together with the form in this newsletter should be sent to the conference co-chairs (Professors Rebecca Copeland, Marvin Marcus, and Elizabeth Oyler). Submissions and inquiries should be made to:

AJLS 2000
c/o East Asian Studies
Washington University
Campus Box 1123
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
Phone: 314-935-4448
Fax: 314-935-7462

1999 Meeting Report

The Eighth Annual AJLS Meeting, "Issues of Canonicity and Canon Formation in Japanese Literary Studies," was successfully held November 12-14, 1999, at the Broker Inn at Boulder, Colorado. This was the first meeting held outside the Midwest and under the new name of the association. A total of 28 papers were presented, together with 4 keynote addresses by guest speakers from Japan (Professors Kubota Jun, Suzuki Sadami, Yonaha Keiko, and the author Takahashi Mutsuo). A variety of historical and regional topics were dynamically discussed in relationship with the general issue of Japanese literary canonicity. This year again, we had a stimulating and insightful meeting with a nicely organized and friendly ambiance. A well prepared organization of the meeting by the Conference Chair, Professor Stephen Miller, and his staff members from the University of Colorado was really appreciated by all participants and audience members.

AJLS Activities

Annual Meeting

An annual meeting is organized by an elected Conference Chair(s) and held at the Chair(s)âs institution. A call for papers is announced in the Spring issue of the AJLS Newsletter. A program of the meeting is published in the Fall issue of the Newsletter.

PAJLS Publication

All papers presented during the annual meeting can be included in an officially registered serial titled PAJLS (Proceedings of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies). Issues of Canonicity and Canon Formation in Japanese Literary Studies," PAJLS, vol.1, is scheduled to be published in September, 2000.


The annual fee is $25.00 for regular, student, and institution members ($35.00 for overseas members outside North America). Membership for 2000-2001 provides you with:

  • panel participation for the 2000 meeting to be held at Washington University-St. Louis (if your proposal is selected).
  • two newsletters--the Fall 2000 issue and Spring 2001 issue.
  • one copy of the proceedings of the year 2000 Meeting to be published in Fall, 2001.
  • one free copy of a back or additional current issue of the proceedings if you are a student member.

Our publication activities almost totally depend on your membership support. If you have not yet joined us, please do so this time. Those who joined and received a copy of the "Love and Sexuality in Japanese Literature" proceedings, please renew your membership now. Inquiries and orders (with checks payable to AJLS) should be addressed to: AJLS, Purdue University, 1359 Stanley Coulter Hall, W. Lafayette, IN 47907-1359, USA.

Hosts for the Year 2001

Next yearâs AJLS meeting is scheduled to be held at Tufts University and co-chaired by professors Charles Shiro Inouye and Hosea Hirata. If you are interested in hosting the AJLS meeting for the year 2002 or later, please contact the AJLS office. Information on the organization of the past meetings is available.

AAS Affiliate

The AJLS has been approved by the AAS as an Affiliate. We annually hold a business meeting during the AAS Meeting.

New Proceedings Published

A long-waited proceedings of the 1998 Purdue meeting has been just published. "Love and Sexuality in Japanese Literature," PMAJLS, vol.5, includes keynote addresses by Saeki Junko and Inaga Shigemi, and 27 more essays, which deal with a variety of topics such as love in the Heian texts, sexuality in Meiji texts, Tanizaki eroticism, politics of love in Snow Country, sexual violence and nationalism, issues of the contemporary body, mythology of the Mother, modern deconstruction of femininity, as well as lesbianism and popular culture (including examination of manga and AV actresses). Please visit the AJLS web site to see the complete table of contents of this volume:

Back Issues

Back and current issues of the proceedings, including the PMAJLS, vol. 5, are available. Each copy is $10.00 for AJLS members and $15.00 for non-members. Orders should be sent to the AJLS office. (Add $10 for mailing if you order from outside the North American area.)

  • Poetics of Japanese Literature
    Roger Thomas, ed.: vi + 207pp, 1993. Includes keynote addresses by Kawamoto Koji and Watanabe Kenji, and nine more essays, plus the round table discussion report.

  • The Desire for Monogatari [out of stock]

  • Japanese Theatricality and Performance
    PMAJLS, vol. 1, Eiji Sekine, ed.: v + 218 pp, 1995 Includes a keynote address by Donald Richie and eleven other essays, plus a report on the round table discussion.

  • Revisionism in Japanese Literary Studies
    PMAJLS, vol. 2, Eiji Sekine, ed.: vi + 336pp, 1996. Includes a keynote address by Earl Miner, major address by Takahashi Toru and ten other essays, plus commentaries by panel discussants.

  • Ga/Zoku Dynamics in Japanese Literature
    PMAJLS, vol. 3, Eiji Sekine, ed.: vii + 458pp, 1997. Includes a keynote address by Ueno Chizuko, major addresses by Watanabe Kenji, Ibi Takashi, and Kigoshi Osamu, and nineteen other essays.

  • The New Historicism and Japanese Literary Studies
    PMAJLS, vol. 4, Eiji Sekine, ed.: xxiii + 432 pp, 1998. Includes two keynote addresses by Karatani Kojin and Komori Yoichi, four invited papers from Japan by Tsurusaki Hiroo, Kawazoe Fusae, Ito Moriyuki, and Minae Mizumura, and twenty more essays. Also includes a comprehensive introduction by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen.

AJLS Newsletter Sponsor: SLC, Purdue University

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ACTS OF WRITING: Language and the Construction of Identities in Japanese Literature





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Please attach a 250-words proposal to this form and send to: AJLS 2000, c/o East Asian Studies, Washington University, Campus Box 1123, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130

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W. Lafayette, IN 47907

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