The project “Japanese Culture En Route: Transnational Currents and Connections in Japanese Performing Traditions” has the following components:

  1. A new tenure-track assistant professor position in Transnational Japanese Studies to be housed in the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies;
  2. Three Critical Intervention Labs on Japanese music, film, and theater respectively; and
  3. A set of short-term summer research stipends for graduate students in Japanese Studies broadly conceived;

Together these efforts aim at contributing to a Japanese Studies that fully acknowledges and engages the transnational nature of Japanese cultural production. By “transnational” we mean to critically interrogate the production and circulation of Japanese culture, examine how it travels transnationally, and describe how it is, in both its creation and consumption, capable of drawing from and traversing linguistic, geographic, temporal and cultural boundaries. The project focuses on performing traditions.

We employ a critical cultural studies approach to explore how cultural products – music, film, theater – circulate in different “regimes of value,” drawing upon Arjun Appadurai’s (1986) notion that things, including cultural products participate in social life in space and time. The Japanese Studies community at the University of California, Santa Barbara, within the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies and across the Humanities, is critically positioned to pursue this Japanese Studies on the next level due particularly to its consistent commitment to an interdisciplinary critical cultural studies.