Location: Bowdoin / Vyjayanthi R Selinger

Asian Studies

Vyjayanthi Ratnam Selinger

Assistant Professor of Asian Studies

Contact Information

vselinge@bowdoin.edu
207-798-4277
Asian Studies
202 38 College Street



Spring 2014

  • The Fantastic and Demonic in Japanese Literature (ASNS 2270)
  • The Fantastic and Demonic in Japanese Literature (GWS 2236)
  • Intermediate Japanese II (JPN 2204)
  • Intermediate Japanese II (JPN 2204)


Vyjayanthi Ratnam Selinger: Bowdoin College: Asian Studies

Education

  • Ph.D. Cornell, 2007
  • M.A. Harvard, 1998
  • B.A. Jawaharlal Nehru University, 1994

Research and Teaching Interests

  • Premodern and Modern Japanese literature, Japanese language, Theoretical approaches to history as narrative



Authorizing the Shogunate: Ritual and Material Symbolism in the Literary Construction of Warrior Order in Medieval Japan.  Leiden: Brill, 2013.

Authorizing the Shogunate: Ritual and Material Symbolism in the Literary Construction of Warrior Order in Medieval Japan. Leiden: Brill, 2013.     Reprinted, by invitation, in Nihon Bungaku kara no hihyôron (Criticism from Japanese Literature), Kasama Shoin, 2009.

“The Sword Trope and the Birth of the Shogunate: Historical Metaphors in Muromachi Japan,” Japanese Language and Literature 43 (2009)

Reprinted, by invitation, in Nihon Bungaku kara no hihyôron (Criticism from Japanese Literature), Kasama Shoin, 2009.


換喩から提喩へ:「剣の巻」における歴史の形象 (From Metonymy to Synechdoche: Tropes of History in the Tsurugi no maki) ," Kokubungaku 52, no. 15 (2007). 

Co-editor Nihon bungaku rubitsuki sôsho (Japanese Short Stories Library), a compilation of annotated literary texts for advanced learners of Japanese.  Under compilation by editor before submission to Cornell University East Asia Series.

“Event as metaphor: Two narratives of Yoritomo in the fourteenth century,” Proceedings of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies , West Lafayette, IN: AJLS, 2005.


Translation and Commentary: Ogino Anna, “My Momma Drinks Tea” in More Stories by Japanese Women Writers: An Anthology, eds. Noriko Mizuta and Kyoko Selden, ( Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe, 2011)

Translation: Iwasaki Minoru, “On Memory and History—The Tokyo Exhibit of ‘Representing Japanese, Dutch, and Indonesians—Memories of the Japanese Occupation of Indonesia (Dutch East Indies)’ and its issues,” Nederlanders Japanners Indonesiërs Een opmerkelijke Tentoonstelling, Amsterdam : Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie, 2002. (Co-translated with Izumi Nakayama)

(From Metonymy to Synechdoche: Tropes of History in the Tsurugi no maki) ,    Translation and Commentary: Ogino Anna, “My Momma Drinks Tea” in More Stories by Japanese Women Writers: An Anthology, eds. Noriko Mizuta and Kyoko Selden, ( Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe, 2011)


Asian 244
Confession and Story-telling: Fictions of the Self in Modern Japanese Fiction
We will examine the "rhetoric of confession" in Japanese literature. We will read major Japanese literary works from the twentieth century to ask the following questions. Why is first-person fiction attractive to story-tellers? When, how, and why does the "I" tell his/her story? How is the inward turn in narrative tied to modern ideas of the self and its relationship to society? What place does the reader occupy in such fiction? No previous knowledge of Japanese history or language is required.

Asian 201
Literature of World War II and the Atomic Bomb in Japan: History, Memory, and Empire

A study of Japan’s coming to terms with its imperialist past. Literary representations of Japan’s war in East Asia are particularly interesting because of the curious mixture of remembering and forgetting that mark its pages. Post-war fiction delves deep into what it meant for the Japanese people to fight a losing war, to be bombed by a nuclear weapon, to face surrender, and to experience Occupation. The course will shed light on the pacifist discourse that emerges in Atomic Bomb Literature and the simultaneous critique directed towards the Emperor System and wartime military leadership. We will also examine what is suppressed in these narratives—Japan’s history of colonialism and sexual slavery—by analyzing writings from the colonies (China, Korea, and Taiwan). Students will tackle the highly political nature of remembering in Japan and how it has been used to articulate race, gender and national identity in post-war Japan. Writers we will read include the Nobel prize-winning author Ôe Kenzaburô, Ôoka Shôhei, Kojima Nobuo, Shimao Toshio, Hayashi Kyoko, and East Asian literati like Yu Dafu, Lu Heruo, Ding Ling, and Wu Zhou Liu.

Japan 203
Intermediate Japanese I
An intermediate course in modern Japanese language, with introduction of advanced grammatical structures, vocabulary, and characters. Continuing emphasis on acquisition of well-balanced language skills based on an understanding of the actual use of the language in the Japanese socio-cultural context. Introduces an additional 100 kanji.

Japan 204
Intermediate Japanese II
This course is a continuation of Japanese 203 with the introduction of more advanced grammatical structures, vocabulary, and characters covering Lesson 19-23 of Genki II: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese. Continuing emphasis on acquisition of well-balanced language skills based on an understanding of the actual use of the language in the Japanese socio-cultural context. An additional 100 kanji will be introduced.

Invited talk: 母として、巫女としての建礼門院の六道語り(Kenreimon’in’s rokudō gatari as mother and as medium) Kokugakuin University, Tokyo, July 2013.

“Envisioning Female Salvation: Dream Revelation, Virtual Travel, and Karmic Overcoming in the Heike Monogatari’s Kanjō no maki,” Annual Conference of the Association of Asian Studies, San Diego, March 2013.

Invited talk: “The Fables of Warrior Power in the Heike monogatari,” University of Massachusetts, Boston, November 2012.

Roundtable Presenter, “Traditions of Contestation in Pre-modern Japan.” State University of New York, New Paltz, September 28, 2012.

Invited talk: 馬が表象する「平家物語」(Horses and the domestication of warrior power of the Heike monogatari), Kokugakuin University, Tokyo, February 2012.

The Father-Lord-Son Plot in the Noh play Shichi-ki ochi: The littoral chronotope in Noh Drama” European Association of Japanese Studies, Tallinn, August 2011

Invited talk: “『剣巻』の方法:武威の創出に伴う辺境の読み替え、過去の置き換 え( Discursive construction in the Tsurugi no maki),” Kokugakuin University, Tokyo, June 2010.

Roundtable Presenter, "Medieval War Tales and their Reception," Asian Studies Conference in Japan, Tokyo, June 2010.

Panel Organizer and Presenter: “Parodies of Power: Comic play and hidden politics in narratives of Kiso no Yoshinaka,” Annual Conference of the Association of Asian Studies, Chicago, March 2009.

“Deciphering a meal: Culinary hospitality and warrior power in the Heike monogatari,” Tales of the Heike: Variation, Canonization, Translation and “Japan’s Epic (Conference at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), November 2009.

“食う義仲と食われる義仲:読み本系平家物語諸本における義仲の蜂起を形象する飲食 の比喩 (The alimentary domination of the ravenous Yoshinaka: The topos of food in the yomi-hon texts of the Heike monogatari) ” New Research into the Genpei jôsuiki, Kokugakuin University, October 2009. (Invited lecture)

“From Metonymy to Synecdoche: Tropes of history in the Tsurugi no maki,” Harvard-Yenching Institute Workshop, Harvard University, August 2007

“The Minamoto Clan as Sacred Sword: Myths of War-Making in the Muromachi Period,” Annual Meeting of the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs,” University of Wisconsin-Madison, October 2006

“History and Narrative,” Interdisciplinary Roundtable “Lost and Found in Translation,” Cornell University Society for the Humanities, Ithaca, November 2004.

“Shifting Ground: Bandô in the Narrative Topography of the Heike Corpus,” Panel: “A Sense of Place: Medieval visions of Kamakura,” Thirteen Annual Meeting of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, October 2004.

“Kenreimon’in and Performance in the Heike monogatari,” Panel: “Women, Religion, and Performance in Japan,” Asian Studies Conference Japan, Sophia University, Tokyo, June 2004.

“Salvation and the Figuration of Kenreimon’in in the Heike Corpus,” American Academy of Religion/Eastern International Meeting, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY,  April 2004.

Selected Academic Honors

  • Japan Foundation Research Fellowship, Spring-Summer 2010
  • Freeman Foundation Faculty Research Fellowship, Summer 2006
  • Japan Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, Jun. 2002-Feb. 2003
  • Joseph Fletcher Memorial Award for Excellence in writing of the M.A thesis, Harvard University, June 1998
  • Japanese Government (Mombusho) Scholarship in Japanese Studies, Nagoya University, 1994-1995