Fall 2013 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Gossin, Pamela
Discipline and Number
LIT 3311 Section 001
R Time 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title
Anime Fantasy of Hayao Miyazaki

Description of Course:

Co-Instructors: Prof. Pamela Gossin and Dr. Marc Hairston

Prof. Pamela Gossin
Office: Arts and Humanities, JO 3.927
Office Phone: x2071
Office Hours: Thr 3-3:45 and by appt. (just ask!)
Email: [email protected]

Dr. Marc Hairston
Research Office: WSTC 2.702 (West-Tech Center for Space Science aka Siberia West)
Office hours: tba
Research Office Phone: 972. (UTD) 883.2826
Email: [email protected]


3 hours of lower-division literature or HUMA 1301. This course is intended for students interested in exploring the interdisciplinary relations between the arts / humanities and science / technology, including students working toward the minor (or future major) in Medical and Scientific Humanities (MaSH). This class is also valuable for students interested in experimental forms of creative writing, including new media and ATEC/EMAC. No previous knowledge of Japanese language, culture or history is expected or required, and most necessary background information will be provided in class or in required readings.

* This course counts toward ATEC and Medical and Scientific Humanities (MaSH) *

Course Description:

In this course we will present a brief historical overview of Japanese comics (manga) and Japanese animation (anime) and their rising stature in American pop culture, in order to help students build an educated appreciation for the artistry, story-telling, and "world-making" of the widely recognized master of anime, Hayao Miyazaki.

Since at least classical times, many human cultures have used a combination of visual and verbal narratives as modes of philosophical speculation and exploration, as well as popular forms of entertainment Anime and manga represent new manifestations of this ancient quest and present interesting challenges to us as readers (interpreters) and consumers of culture as well as creative contributors to it.

In the process of learning about the development of Miyazaki's art throughout his career, we will examine his work in the context of significant artistic, cultural, and philosophical questions, such as: How did anime and manga develop as art forms? What status do they have within Japanese and various other world cultures? How do these forms of story-telling build on traditional narrative forms? Differ from them? How do themes of the human imagination of possible futures appear in these stories? How do these narratives display critical perspectives on humanity's relationship to the natural world and our increasingly technological reality? How does reading / seeing a story from outside mainstream US culture affect our perceptions of its effectiveness and meaning? To what extent do our expectations about style and content limit our ability to analyse and interpret creative works from another culture? Are there "universal" (pancultural) elements of "good" art and literature that transcend such barriers? If so, what counts as "good" anime and manga and how do such qualities matter?

The class format will be primarily discussion (utilizing literary analysis and interpretation) with descriptive or informative lectures providing historical, biographical and cultural background explaining the role and status of Miyazaki's anime and manga in both the US and Japan. Most class periods will include viewing of Miyazaki's anime, supplemented by selections of films by other artists.

Required reading will include selections from Miyazaki's manga, scholarly critiques of animation and graphic arts from artistic, cultural and literary-critical perspectives, an introduction to the history and development of fantasy as a literary form, and at least two works of written fantasy fiction. We also hope to feature at least one special guest speaker whose work illuminates aspects of anime industry and/or scholarship.

Course objectives:

Students will view, read and discuss a wide variety of anime films from various genres, demonstrating the ability to interpret and analyze themes and issues using a diverse range of artistic and literary critical approaches. Students will write a mid-term exam, two brief "response" essays, and a final exam. Participation in on-line discussion may also be required.

Required Texts:

Required Texts:

1) ELECTRONIC RESERVE : (IMPORTANT!): Numerous selections of articles and chapters by scholars and critics are posted on-line through McDermott Library. Listen in class for our password.

2) Napier, Susan, Anime: From Akira to Howl's Moving Castle, Palgrave, (new expanded edition, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1-4039-7052-1 / ISBN-13: 978-1-4039-7052-7

3) Miyazaki, Hayao, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (manga / graphic novel), VIZ, vols 1 and 7
vol. 1: ISBN-13: 978-1-59116-408-1
vol.7: ISBN: 1-59116-355-2

4) Osmond, Andrew, Spirited Away, Palgrave, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-1-84457-230-4

5) Jones, Diana Wynne Howl's Moving Castle, HarperCollins, 2008
ISBN-10: 0061478784 / ISBN-13: 978-0061478789

6) Le Guin, Ursula K. The Farthest Shore (The Earthsea Cycle, Book 3), Pocket, 2004
ISBN-10: 141650964X / ISBN-13: 978-1416509646

7) tba

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Grading / Course Requirements

- One midterm unit exam (IDs/Interpretation; Short Answer; Definitions) = 1/4th of course grade

- Two 2-3 page, typed, double-spaced comparative/interpretative essays, averaged = 1/4th of grade

- One final unit exam (covering material since the midterm) = 1/4 of grade

- Attendance and participation (A&P includes in-class and online discussion, any quizzes, etc) = 1/4 of grade

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