Spring 2016

Madame Butterfly Lives: Cross-Cultural Exchanges in France and Japan

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-338  |  French, as FREN-369


Laure A. Katsaros (Section 01)
Timothy J. Van Compernolle (Section 01)


(Offered as ASLC 338 and FREN 369.)  In 1867, in the waning days of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Japanese authorities dispatched several geisha to the Paris World Exposition to represent a country few Europeans knew anything about. Since these inauspicious beginnings, the culture of each country has come to have a decisive hold on the imagination of the other across a wide array of fields. By the time Jean-Paul Sartre arrived in Tokyo almost a century later, the cultural ties were so extensive that the French philosopher was greeted by a media frenzy normally reserved for celebrities. Today, Japanese comic books are widely available in French translation, and French cinema shows regularly on Japanese screens. This interdisciplinary course tracks the circulation of texts, ideas, images, and people between France and Japan from the late nineteenth century to the present, allowing us to address issues of national identity, Orientalism, exoticism, gender, media culture, and artistic modernism, among other themes. Course materials will be drawn from literature, visual art, opera, film, dance, fashion, design, philosophy, and history. The class is taught in English and requires no prior knowledge of either country.

Spring semester. Professors Katsaros and Van Compernolle.

ASLC 338 - L/D

Section 01
Tu 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM MERR 401
Th 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM MERR 401

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
Nadja Grove Press Andre Breton Amherst Books TBD
Hiroshima Mon Amour Grove Press Marguerite Duras Amherst Books TBD
Empire of Signs Hill and Wang Roland Barthes Amherst Books TBD
The Hare with Amber Eyes Farrar, Straus, Giroux Edmund de Waal Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2020