At the University of Pennsylvania, three Japanese graduate students in the Humanities came together to discuss feminism in Japan, with the specialist in Japanese gender studies, Professor Ayako Kano. Titled “Contemporary Japanese Feminist Theory,” this independent study course (2016 Fall) aims to critically examine Japanese feminist debates and current social issues in Japan from multidisciplinary perspectives (i.e., art history, history and sociology of science, music, and cultural anthropology). Throughout the course, we will contemplate how such interdisciplinarity of our course structure can bring about productive outcomes and yield spaces in which to rethink and reformulate our knowledge about contemporary feminist debates – as well as identify existing disciplinary limits in this process. Early in the semester, we cover a history of feminism in Japan and feminist theories and debates in both English- and Japanese-language scholarship. After these sessions and reflective discussions, each of us will introduce key concepts from their own interest, and lead discussions incorporating feminist theories.

This blog is the fruit of our reflections and thoughts from the weekly readings and discussions. In addition to the weekly reflection posts, the blog includes book reviews and interviews with scholars in relevant fields. By publicizing our thoughts, we aim to encourage further discussions about feminism in Japan (and elsewhere) from interdisciplinary scopes.

[Header image: Uemura Shoen. Woman in Genroku Style with a Shamisen. Late Meiji. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. mfa.org]