The corpse of the premodern Japanese studies field

Frog in the Well posted about two classical Japanese studies symposiums, one this weekend and one coming up in May. They both sound fascinating! While I would love to go, that isn’t the reason I’m posting. I just wanted to spotlight the opening paragraphs of the announcement post, which made me smile:

Premodernists, particularly those who focus on history, sometimes feel gloomy about the state of premodern Japanese studies in the U.S., where a number of large graduate programs have shrunk, disappeared, or fundamentally changed in emphasis in the past two decades. Some of us have even been known to eulogize the field, as if the heart of our collective endeavors had already stopped beating. Is the field more like a rotting corpse, or perhaps a mummified one? Have we been subject to cremation, leaving behind only bone fragments to be buried in an urn? Or was the corpse of the field left lying on the banks of the river, food for the crows and source of anxiety for locals, known as “wind burial”? (Thanks, PMJS!)

Two upcoming events prove that the rumors of the death of medieval Japanese studies were greatly exaggerated.

Love it.