This course will be an exploration of premodern Japanese history through the lens of violence. The centuries under consideration (roughly, the eighth thought nineteenth) were characterized by greatly varying levels of violence, both of the state-sanctioned variety (war, punishments for law-breakers and political losers) and of the non-sanctioned variety (piracy, banditry, warrior and peasant rebellions). Examining a wide variety of translated sources, from diaries to chronicles, from legal codes to fiction, we shall examine the changing social, political, economic, and cultural contexts of violence, in order to interrogate not only why certain periods were remarkably peaceful while others were not, but also why violence took different forms in relation to different circumstances. We shall consider how contempories made sense of the violence that surrounded them (or didn't) and how they divided the acceptable use of force from the wanton and society-threatening abuse of it. The course will feature presentations and severl (very short) papers.
Section 401 - SEM
MW 0200PM-0330PM