L-OR/22 - 9 CFU - 2° Semester

Teaching Staff


Learning Objectives

Knowledge and understanding: Students will enhance their knowledge and understanding of methods and ideas of literary criticism through the analysis of a selection of Japanese literary texts in translation of modern and contemporary authors, they will obtain a deeper understanding of the historical, cultural and literary context of modern and contemporary Japan.

Applying knowledge and understanding: Students will be able to understand, analyze and criticise Japanese modern and contemporary texts and movies.

Making judgment: Students will be able to formulate critical judgments on a wide range of modern and contemporary Japanese literary sources based on the methodology acquired during the classes and through the careful study of the bibliographical references.

Communication skills: Students will be able to formulate correct literary analysis based on the methodology of literary criticism and film studies acquired during the course. They will also be able to make effective presentations in front of the class.

Learning skills: Students will be able to deal in an independent and critical way with a wide variety of bibliographical references.

Course Structure

Lectures by the instructor. Comment and analysis of literary texts and film or anime sequences. Students' participation in class discussion is strongly recommended.

Detailed Course Content

the Course focuses on cyborg identities in the Japanese imaginary through the novels Kachikujin Yapoo (Yapoo the Human Cattle, 1956) by Shōzō Numa, Nippon apachi zoku (The Japanese Apache Tribe, 1964) by Komatsu Sakyō, the Tetsuo trilogy (Iron Man, 1989-1992-2010) by director Tsukamoto Shin'ya and Kokaku Kidotai (Ghost in the Shell 1995) by Masamune Shiro and its anime version by Ishii Mamoru (1995). Each of these works presents the search for transhuman and post-human subjectivities in Japanese science fiction imagery from the post-war period to the postmodern and share a masochistic representation of bodies deeply interwoven with the question of identity. The aim of the course is to investigate the ways in which the Japanese cyborg imagery of the post-war and postmodern periods encode the categories of gender, ethnicity and sexuality in relation to the ideological constructions in the background of the works examined.

Textbook Information

Highly recommended theoretical references (also used in class activities)

Braidotti Rosi (2013), The Posthuman, Polity Press, Cambridge; trad it. di A. Balzano (2014), Il postumano. La vita oltre l’individuo oltre la specie, oltre la morte, DeriveApprodi, Roma.

Buruma Ian, Margalit Avishai (2004, a cura di), Occidentalism. The West in the Eyes of its Enemies, The Penguin Press, New York; trad.it. di A. Nadotti (2004), Occidentalismo. L’Occidente agli occhi dei suoi nemici, Einaudi, Torino.

Butler Judith, (1990-1999) Gender Trouble: Feminism and Subversion of Identity, Routledge, New York; trad it. di Sergia Adamo: Questioni di genere. Il femminismo e la sovversione dell'identità, Laterza, Urbino 2013.

Creed Barbara (1993), The Monstrous Feminine. Film. Feminism, Psychoanalysis, Routledge, London and New York.

Cadzyn Eric (2002), The Flash of Capital. Film and Geopolitics in Japan, Duke University Press, Durham & London.

Haraway Donna.J. (1991), A Cyborg Manifesto. Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century in Haraway D.J. (1991) Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. The Reinvention of Nature, Routedge, New York, pp. 149-81; trad it di Borghi L. (1995), Un manifesto per Cyborg: scienza, tecnologia e femminismo socialista nel tardo ventesimo secolo in Borghi L. (trad.), prefazione di Braidotti R. (1995), Manifesto Cyborg. Donne, tecnologie e biopolitiche del corpo, Feltrinelli. Milano, pp. 39-84.

Harootunian H. (2000), Overcome by Modernity. History, Culture, and Community in Interwar Japan, Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ.

Kristeva, Julia. 1981. Pouvours de l’Horreur. Essai sur l’Abjection. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.

Mes Tom e Miike Takashi, (2005), Iron Man. The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto, FAB Press, Farleigh.

Said Edward. W. (1978), Orientalism, Pantheon Books, New York; trad. It. di S. Galli (1991), Orientalismo. L’immagine europea dell’Oriente, Feltrinelli, Milano.

Tatsumi Takayuki. (2007, a cura di), Robot Ghosts, Wired Dreams. Japanese Science Fiction from Origin to Anime, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis – London


Primary Sources


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