Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)

Module JPNS3021: Critical Methods for the Study of Japanese Literature and History

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Japanese)

JPNS3021: Critical Methods for the Study of Japanese Literature and History

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Japanese Language 2B (JPNS2012), Japanese Language 2A (JPNS2161), Stage 4 Japanese (MLAN 1471) or equivalent (JLPT N2 above)


  • Japanese Language 4 (JPNS3012)

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To introduce students to advanced concepts and methodologies in literary and historical studies and their potential for reshaping scholarship on Japan.
  • To develop higher-level language skills for reading contemporary scholarship in Japanese.


  • The module will use a combination of texts in English and Japanese to acquaint students with critical research questions and debates relevant to the study of Japan.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of key concepts, debates, and methodologies in scholarship on Japanese literature and history, and the cultural, social, and political contexts framing the emergence of these concepts, debates, and methodologiesï‚·
  • Basic familiarity with the common vocabulary and rhetorical styles of Japanese academic writing ï‚·
  • Informed insight into the new directions scholarship on Japan might take
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The ability to understand and critically analyse scholarship on Japanese literature and history in relation to the evolution of both Japanese Studies and the disciplines of literary studies and history.ï‚·
  • Ability to read high level texts for content comprehension purposes and appreciate their significance at different levels ï‚·
  • Ability to read academic Japanese fluently and efficiently
Key Skills:
  • A deep familiarity with the conceptual paradigms that have shaped humanities scholarship
  • Ability to carry out self-directed study and present the results both orally and in writing

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

  • Language classes and seminars; students will be expected to read both Japanese texts and background material out of class.
  • Assessment will be a mixture of summative essays and a written examination.
  • Each summative essay is based on topics covered during the Michaelmas Term and the Epiphany Term, allowing students the opportunity to critically reflect on ideas and key concepts, and discuss a range of subject-specific issues.
  • The examination covers work carried out throughout the year, while assessing students' ability to work under pressure and to prepare for examinations with time management skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 weekly 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 fortnightly 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 2,000 words 100% No
Component: Independent Research Essay Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2 3,000 words 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Oral feedback in classes and seminars

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