COOL CLASSES: “Japanese Modernism Across Media”

COOL CLASSES: “Japanese Modernism Across Media”

Class name: Japanese Modernism Across Media

Taught by:  Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures Erin Schoneveld


Here’s what Schoneveld had to say about her class:

This curatorial seminar examines the revolutionary transformation of Japanese artistic production and exhibition practice from the late 19th century through the present day. Against the backdrop of rapid modernization, colonial expansion, the Pacific War and U.S. Occupation, and the 3/11 tsunami and nuclear meltdown, we study the evolution, adaptation, and display of Japanese modern and contemporary art. Drawing upon a variety of “modern media” such as oil painting, photography, film, digital and performance-based art—to name a few—we also explore how Japanese artists wrestled with issues of identity, self-expression, and nationhood as they attempted to embrace foreign materials and modes of representation. Through two semester-long curatorial projects students have the opportunity to engage with Japanese modernism on a deeper level by developing a critical language for looking in order to articulate their ideas, challenge cultural assumptions, and make intellectual discoveries.

I teach this class because the opportunity for students to learn about 20th century East Asian culture, history, politics, and society, through the study and curation of modern Japanese art is extremely exciting and generative! This year the collaborative curatorial project will take advantage of the fantastic Japanese photography collection that we have here at Haverford College. Thanks to the efforts of William Williams, Haverford has comprehensive holdings in early 20th-century Japanese tourist photography as well as post-war photography documenting the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Using these resources to study the evolution of the photographic medium in Japan—from representation to documentation and pictorialism to expressionism—students will work directly with these art objects as they select, analyze, contextualize, and display a number of Japanese photographs in a special exhibition at Magill Library. As both a scholar and teacher, facilitating close-encounters at the intersection of modern and contemporary Japanese art and visual culture inspires my work in the classroom.


See what other courses the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures is offering this semester.

Photo (cc) Jean-Marie Hullot

Kusama Yayoi, Pumpkin (2006), Naoshima, Japan.

Cool Classes is a series that highlights interesting, unusual, and unique courses that enrich the Haverford experience.


1 Comment

  1. Thank you for such a great post!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *