April 17, 2017/ 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Royce Hall Herbert Morris Seminar Room 306 Los Angeles CA

War without blood: Death, Pollution and Body in the Tale of the Heike

A Colloquium with Vyjayanthi Selinger, Associate Professor at Bowdoin College

The Genpei War of 1180-1185 signaled a crucial shift in Japanese history because it gave birth to the shogunate, or government run by warriors. How was the emergence of this new polity following a contentious civil war explained in literary texts? Professor Selinger will show that political authority is made visible in the variant texts of the Heike monogatari corpus through rituals that map the ideal social-cosmic order, overwriting untidy historical realities. Artifacts of material culture likewise provide the social and political codes to authenticate warrior power and manage its violence. Through its focus on ritual and material practices, Professor Selinger offers a new perspective on how texts from fourteenth century Japan harnessed symbolic understandings of authority to evoke order and contain rupture.

About the Speaker
Vyjayanthi Selinger is Associate Professor of Asian Studies and Director of the Asian Studies Program at Bowdoin College.. She is the author of Authorizing the Shogunate: Ritual and Material Symbolism in the Literary Construction of Warrior Order in Medieval Japan (Brill, 2013) and is currently writing The Law in Letters: The Legal Imagination of Medieval Japan. Her articles have appeared in Japanese Language and Literature, Kokubungaku, and Nihon bungaku kara hihyōron.

Download file: 4.17-selinger-flyer-n0-yum.pdf