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ARTH 231

Urban Art of Early Modern Japan

This course explores the spectacle and complexity of Japanese urban life in the early modern period through a study of the era's visual arts, particularly woodblock prints and paintings or ukiyo-e. Investigation of ukiyo-e yields a rich tapestry of issues and topics relevant to "early modernity." We will consider the economic currents of the time, the wealth of the commoner class as well as the concomitant blurring of social boundaries, government attempts at control, the powerful entertainment industries of theatre & sex, the visualization of urban literature, concepts of beauty, the "burden" of history, and the supernatural. Our interdisciplinary approach will allow us to engage with not only art-historical issues, but also literary, sociological, historical, and religious concerns.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course