Getting Started: Challenges and Opportunities in Anti-racist Pedagogy in Premodern Japanese Literature

Teaching about race and ethnicity through premodern Japanese literature poses a formidable challenge. This is not only because we lack a robust body of scholarship trained on this lens to assign on syllabi, but also because we have lacked academic gatherings such as RaceB4Race, where medievalists working on Europe have begun to think about the possibilities of race as an analytical category in relation to medieval texts. This presentation is therefore a call to getting started, to think creatively about how we can incorporate existing scholarship on social marginality, precarity, and otherness (on outcastes and pollution, on Hansen’s disease, on slavery and indentured servitude, on illness, on animals) to help students make broader connections.

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