Material and information about Miyazaki, Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, and anime for the Spring 1999 A&H 3300 class "Natural Wonders" at the University of Texas at Dallas

Pam Gossin and Marc Hairston

In the spring of 1999, Dr. Pam Gossin taught a literature course entitled Natural Wonders here at the University of Texas at Dallas.The course looked at the writings of naturalists, scientists, novelists, and poets to examine what we mean by the term "the natural world" and how these different writers viewed it. Follow this link to see the full syllabus for the course. Because of this theme, Dr. Gossin decided that Miyazaki's epic manga and film Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind fit perfectly with her class, so she made it the centerpiece of the semester-long study with Dr. Hairston functioning as a guest instructor for that portion of the class. Each section of the class met for 2 hours and 45 minutes once a week for 14 weeks and we devoted two and a half of the 14 classes just to Nausicaa. The first volume of the Nausicaa Perfect Collection was required reading, the class watched the film version, and about two-thirds of the students ended up chosing Nausicaa as their topic for their final research paper in the class. As near as we have been able to determine, we were the first mainstream literature course in a US college (and the second US college course overall) to ever use Nausicaa as a required text for the course. (The first course to ever use the Nausicaa as a required text was a student-led course about anime in spring 1998 at Western Washington University led by Michael Arnold, one of the members of the Miyazaki mailing list.) (Nausicaa has been used frequently in college courses in Japan, of course.)

The Nausicaa section of the course went like this:

Week 1: Lecture by Dr. Hairston--Introduction to manga, anime, and Miyazaki; class discussion of the Nausicaa manga.

Week 2: Watched the film version of Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind in class; followed that with a short discussion and lecture about how the manga ultimately ends in a very different fashion than the movie.

Week 3: A short coda of about 15 minutes at the beginning of class of the material we didn't have time for in week 2. We watched Miyazaki's short (7 minute) music video On Your Mark and discussed the themes in there and how it related to Nausicaa.


Click here for the student papers from the class.

Related articles
Interview Marc did for the October 1999 issue of the webzine Anime Craze. Note that Anime Craze is now a defunct webzine, but thanks for Mike Kang and Gemma Hiranuma of Anime Craze (and Planet Anime!) we now have the original webpage here on my site.
Essay Marc wrote about the course that was published in the December 1999 (Vol. 7, number 12) issue of Animerica


If you have any questions or comments about this site or our course, please feel free to send us email. Pam can be reached at psgossin at zoom1.telepath.com and Marc can be reached at hairston at utdallas.edu

Update: Dr. Gossin and I will be reteaching this course during the spring 2000 semester, and this time we will be hosting Dr. Susan Napier from the Asian Studies Program at University of Texas at Austin for a guest lecture about anime. Go here for the course announcement and syllabus.
March 2000: Dr. Susan Napier of UT-Austin will be giving a public talk about "the images of females in anime" and later speaking to the AH 3300 class on Wednesday March 29th, 2000. For more information about times and locations, please see the invitation we prepared for another UTD class. Guests from outside the UTD community are welcome to attend both talks and the showing of Nausicaa the following week. For questions or further information, please contact Marc by email or at 972-883- 2826.
Fall 2001 Dr. Gossin and I will be teaching AH 1301, a freshman introduction to humanities course this coming spring semester here at UT Dallas. This will be a class of about 150 freshmen and we will once again be reading and viewing Nausicaaas well as viewing Princess Mononoke and Grave of the Fireflies.
Click on Totoro for the story of the Totoro mugshot in the December 1999 issue of Animerica.
Marc Hairston- January 2000; moved and links updated December 2007. Please note that this webpage has a new url: www.utdallas.edu/research/spacesciences/hairston/ah3300.html