2013 Inquiry Seminars

Geishas to Cyborgs : Production and Reception in Japanese Visual Culture

Susan Lee

This course introduces students to the rich visual culture of Japan from the early modern (1600s to the late 1800s) era to contemporary times. Organized into two units, we explore ukiyo-e (OO-KEY-YO-EH) (early modern woodblock prints and paintings) and the modern art forms of manga/anime (comics/animated films) and videogames. While we do pose intriguing questions concerning the production of art, we primarily focus on their reception. What did the 18th and 19th century woodblock prints of courtesans and kabuki actors mean for their consumers? What did 19th century French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters make of these same prints? How do the artists who create the exciting and creative manga, anime, and videogames of our current times foster creative interactions with their fans? What is the value of fan art? How are these recent phenomena shaping our redefinition of what it means to be an artist as well as how we understand the role art plays in our everyday lives? OC