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Workshop | Writing Histories of Japanese Literature for Western Readers

Oct 12, 2023 - Oct 14, 2023

Organised by Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit, Research Area 2: "Travelling Matters".

In the past decade, the profile of Japanese literature has shifted along with the role of literature at a global level and as a result of new approaches to translation and a fresh perspective on Japanese culture in the context of changed mediascapes. The history of modern and pre-modern Japanese literature is currently being rewritten in the West, including in Italy, France, Germany, Scandinavia and in the Anglophone region (with 'Western' here referring to European languages). The workshop intends to bring together leading scholars to compare and discuss their concepts, designs and specificities against the backdrop of culture-specific readerships, translation policies, publishers' demands and new trends in Japanese literary historiography, etc. The workshop is conceived as a first brainstorming session to inquire into meaningful further meta-research on the mechanisms of representing Japanese (and eventually other) literatures, their underlying mechanisms and consequences for the perception and appreciation of literature in the 21st century.

The workshop will offer a survey of trends and concepts and identify pathways for further meta-research in the context of research questions central to EXC 2020. Ideally, subsequent conferences will lead to a more concrete research engagement and collaboration, including with researchers from Eastern Europe. 

The project has relevant links to Research Area 1: "Competing Communities" with respect to 'community' and 'communication', in terms of exploring modes of conceptualising 'literary history' for different language-based communities and in relation to their 'object' ('Japanese literature'). It is situated in Research Area 2: "Travelling Matters", questioning the genre of literary history as a process of semantic coding and as media. It is central to Research Area 3: "Future Perfect" because it addresses historiography (and anthologising) as a practice "through which the temporalities of literature are re-written and re-constituted", and also to Research Area 4: "Literary Currencies", as it focuses on canon (re-)formation, the circulation of texts and the economic dimensions of this circulation.

Preliminary programme

Thursday, 12 October 2023

14:00-14:30 | Registration

14:30-15:00 | Karin Gludovatz, Matthias Warstat, Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit: Welcome and Introduction

Panel 1 moderated by Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit

15:00-16:00 | Cécile Sakai (Université Paris Cité): How to Write a History of Contemporary Japanese Literature for French Readers? Questioning Historiography, Legitimacy, and Purposes Today

16:00-16:30 | Coffee break

16:30-17:30 | John Treat (Yale University): National History After the Nation

17:30-19:00 | Tzvetana Kristeva (ICU Tokyo): Writing Histories of Japanese Literature in Japan
Respondent: Judit Árokay (Heidelberg University)

Friday, 13 October 2023

Panel 2 moderated by Rebecca Mak (Freie Universität Berlin)

09:30-10:30 | Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit: Outdated and Dispensable? Histories of Japanese Literature for Readers of German
Respondent: Cécile Sakai (Université Paris Cité)

10:30-11:00 | Coffee break

11:00-12:00 | Carolina Negri (Università Ca' Foscari Venice): In Search of the Classics - The Project of a New History of Japanese Literature in Italy

12:00-12:30 | Intervention by Judit Árokay (Heidelberg University): On the Notions of 'Classical' or Pre-Modern in (Japanese) Literature

13:00-15:00 | Lunch

Panel 3 moderated by Tzvetana Kristeva (ICU Tokyo)

15:00-16:00 | Luisa Bienati (Università Ca' Foscari Venice): The Project of a New History of Japanese Literature in Italy: Modern and Contemporary Japanese Literature

16:00-17:00 | Daniel Struve (Université Paris Cité): Introducing Early Modern Japanese Literature in France

17:00-17:30 | Coffee break

17:30-18:00 | Judit Árokay (Heidelberg University): Thoughts on Re-Writing the History of Pre-modern/Classical Japanese Literature for Contemporary German Readers

Saturday, 14 October 2023

Panel 4 moderated by Judit Árokay (Heidelberg University)

09.30-10:30 | Reiko Abe Auestad (University of Oslo): Japanese Literature in Translation: The Norwegian Case

10:30-11:00 | Coffee break

11:00-11:30 | Intervention by Susanne Klengel (Freie Universität Berlin/EXC 2020): On Cultural Actors and Networks Between Latin America and India, with Some Remarks on 'Japan' in Latin American Literature

11:30-12:30 | Final discussion

Time & Location

Oct 12, 2023 - Oct 14, 2023

Freie Universität Berlin
EXC 2020 "Temporal Communities"
Room 00.05
Otto-von-Simson-Straße 15
14195 Berlin