David Lurie, Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University
Early Japanese histories are filled with stories of the violent exploits of deities and human heroes dispatched to peripheral regions to quell unruly indigenes. Their settings are mythic but derive from, and also ideologically underwrite, the imperial terrain of the Nara period (710-792 CE). And yet the same stories, and the works that contain them, also inhabit another, abstract terrain: that of Sinitic textual culture, in which Japan itself plays the role of barbarous periphery.
This presentation explores the complex, often incoherent logics that enabled these two terrains to coexist in 8th century works such as the Kojiki (712), Nihon shoki (720), and the fudoki gazetteers.
Part of the Indigeneity Across East Asian Literatures Speaker Series. Curated by Assistant Professor Nathan Vedal, Department of East Asian Studies
Centre for Comparative Literature University of Toronto