Samurai Legends and Lives
Tuesday and Thursday - 1:00 PM - Oller Seminar Room - Spring 2004
Dr. Douglas Stiffler Office Hours: Monday and Friday 10:00-10:30
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday 10:30-11:30
Office: I.H. Brumbaugh 103
This seminar for first-year students will introduce you to the legends and lives of the samurai of pre-modern Japan. Samurai have traditionally been known as swashbuckling, martial heroes of film and fiction. Samurai did not just wield swords, however. They composed poetry, served as scribes and bureaucrats, and engaged in business. In this course, we will first discuss the legends of the samurai that were conveyed in the popular war tales. Samurai legends present to us certain cultural ideals that persisted even as the samurai themselves changed. It will be a principal goal of our discussions to assess the manner in which the samurai as a status group changed over time, in response to changing socio-economic and other conditions. In reading samurai memoirs of the nineteenth century, we will discuss the ways in which samurai dealt with these changing historical circumstances.
John W. Hall, Japan: From Prehistory to Modern Times (U. Michigan, 1991)
Hiroaki Sato, Legends of the Samurai (Overlook Press, 1995)
Noel Perrin, Giving Up the Gun: Japanís Reversion to the Sword (David R. Godine, 1999)
Yamamoto Tsunemoto, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai (Kodansha, 1983)
Donald Keene, Trans. Chushingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers (Columbia U., 1971)
Katsu Kokichi, Musuiís Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai (U. Arizona, 1991)
Please note that on Wednesday, March 10th, there will be a required field trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art/Zen Tea Garden. An additional (modest) course charge will be assessed for this event.
Class Grading and Assignments:
This course is a seminar, and its success depends on your willingness to participate actively in class discussions. My role will be to introduce topics, provide necessary background on occasion, and guide discussions. This being the case, it is most important that you do the reading in a timely manner and come to class prepared to discuss the day=s topics. Reading assignments and discussion topics are preliminary, and may be adjusted as we go along.
Participation: 50%. Will be assessed each class meeting, with full credit awarded for at least one instance of contribution to class discussion. The rule of thumb will be: did the comment or question positively contribute to the classís understanding and/or clarification of the issues at hand? This category will also include students= presentations on various segments of the reading; plan on making at least four such presentations during the course of the term.
6 Reading-Response Papers (about 2 pages each): 30% Eight short reading-responses in answer to a question about the readings of the previous one to two weeks.
Longer Paper (about 5 to 7 pages in length) or Project: 20% I will distribute a list of topics and suggested sources. Students may also suggest topics, which are subject to the instructor=s approval.
Policy on Submission of Written Work:
All written work must be submitted the day it is due. Except in the case of documented medical or family emergency, late papers will be subject to a reduction of one grade level (or equivalent) per day late.
Since this is a seminar course, regular attendance and participation in class discussions is extremely important. Absences will only be excused if they are approved in advance by me (i.e. in the case of athletic participation) or in cases of documented illness. Two unexcused absences will result in a reduction of one grade-level (e.g. 10%) in the final grade. Each additional unexcused absence after this will reduce the final grade by 5%.
All written work must be completed by the individual student. Any instance of plagiarism will be treated very seriously. You are responsible for familiarity with Juniata College's policies on academic honesty. Please see the Pathfinder on the College's homepage for these policies.
You may withdraw from the class at any time permitted by the Registrar's office. To withdraw with a WP you must have completed course-work at a passing level and you must inform the professor immediately of your intent to withdraw. Failure to do this will result in your receiving a WF.
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