Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)

Module JPNS2041: The Body and the Extremity of the Senses: Through Japanese Literature, Performance and Media Arts

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Japanese)

JPNS2041: The Body and the Extremity of the Senses: Through Japanese Literature, Performance and Media Arts

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To give students a greater exposure to Japanese culture of the modern/contemporary period through key texts and cultural representations which illustrate the ways this period has discussed the body, the senses and sexuality.
  • To give a nuanced understanding of developments in modern/contemporary Japanese literature, performance and media arts in this period.
  • To develop skills in the use of relevant academic theory and methodology.


  • Students will be exposed to a variety of literary texts, theatrical/performance works, and films/media arts from the late 19th to 21st centuries, set in context by discussion of relevant cultural/historical/social aspects, seeking to understand how various forms of art have dealt with and tried to ‘achieve’ the body.
  • This module pursues various shifts and attempts to search for the body and identity in this period, including: the shifts in bodily interactions after the opening of Japan, the national body, the defeated body, the revelation of the individual body, the pursuit of the ‘Japanese’ body, forbidden sexuality, monstrous female body, de-centralisation of the body, and the plastic body in the age of globalisation.
  • This interdisciplinary (mixed-media) module re-examines Japanese cultural representations in a global context, so it may interest those who specialise in other East Asian culture, those who work on East-West cross-cultural interactions or media/cultural studies.
  • This module is taught and examined in English. The English translation will be provided when reading assignments include Japanese texts.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Student will develop interdisciplinary knowledge of modern/contemporary Japanese culture.
  • Understanding of key cultural, social and historical elements to analyse literary/cultural representations effectively.
  • Familiality with issues of identity, colonialism, orientalism/occidentalism, globalisation, and relevant theoretical accounts.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module students should have improved skills in critically and effectively analysing Japanese literature and cultural representations.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module students should have improved skills in written argument and presentation.
  • The ability to discuss thematic or general issues with fluency.
  • The ability to read and analyse complex texts with flexibility.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught intensively in Term 1 or Term 2 on a 'short-fat' basis
  • This module is taught by means of weekly lectures and weekly seminars.
  • The module will be taught in English and assessed in English.
  • Students are expected to attend lectures and seminars, prepare themselves for classes and to participate actively in discussions.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 2 Hours 20
Seminars 10 Weekly 1 Hour 10
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay 1 Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 2000 words 100% Yes
Component: Essay 2 Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2 2500 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Seminar presentations

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University