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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Japanese (JAPNS)

JAPNS 421 (IL) Courtly Japan (3) Focused study of aristocratic society and culture of Heian period Japan.

JAPNS 421 Courtly Japan (3)
(IL)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.


The Heian period of Japanese history saw the apex of a refined court culture. Through readings of primary and secondary sources, this seminar-style course will explore the activities, norms, and structures of courtly society in Japan, from the centralization of imperial power in the 8th century through the court’s political marginalization in the late 12th century. We will pay particular attention to religion, the arts, politics and governances, gender, and the gradual rise of samurai power in the shadows of the court.

This course is intended to provide an introduction to the political, social, economic, and cultural life of the Heian court of ancient Japan. The goals of the class are not only to gain an understanding of a time and place far removed from our own, but also to develop the skill of building such an understanding through primary and secondary sources, both written and visual. Students in this class will take on the role of historian or literary critic themselves, thinking critically about assigned texts and making their own interpretations of their meanings. Through readings, discussions, presentations, and the final project, students will enhance their ability to think critically and to express their ideas clearly in both speech and writing.

Class work includes some lecture but emphasizes guided discussions, group work, writing exercises, and some student presentations. This participatory approach is intended to deepen student’s appreciation of the assigned readings, to help them understand value systems that may differ from those predominant in western cultures, and to assist students in developing both analytic and expressive abilities. The details of evaluation will vary depending on the instructor. In general, the emphasis will be on student performance on a day-to-day basis and as expressed in a final research project.

The course is designed to be suitable for all students generally interested in Japan, or interested in various fields of humanistic study. This course is recommended, but not required, of the Japanese major. It is designed to count as a B.A. “Other Cultures” course, and as an IL "International Cultures" course.


General Education: None
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Other Cultures
Effective: Spring 2012
Prerequisite: JAPNS 120, JAPNS 121 orHIST 172

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.

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