Julia Clark

Undergraduate Discipline


BA, Carleton College. PhD, University of California, Los Angeles. Primary area of specialization: postwar and contemporary Japanese literature. Special interests include the cultural production of ethnic minorities in Japan, literary multilingualism and “Japanophone” literature, representations of urban space, and transnational feminisms. Articles include “‘Poems of Flesh’: Rethinking Zainichi Women’s Literary History Through the Works of So Shugetsu” (2023) and “Ikaino’s Afterlives: The Legacies of Landscape in the Fiction of Kim Yujeong” (2023). SLC, 2024–

Undergraduate Courses 2024-2025


Border-Crossing Japanese Media

Open, Seminar—Fall

LITR 3812

What is the relationship between the language(s) we speak, the nation in which we live, and our understanding of ourselves? If language and place help shape our identity, what can we learn from those caught between borders and living in multiple tongues? This course examines transnational literary texts and films both to learn about the lived experiences and aesthetic experimentation of a variety of Japanese-language authors and directors and to explore how language, literature, and visual media are related more broadly to conceptions of “national belonging.” The works covered in this course highlight the destabilization of identity that accompanies both the act of border crossing and the geopolitical upheavals that cause those borders to shift and be redrawn, from the forced assimilation of colonial subjects during Japan’s imperial period, to the US military’s postwar occupation of Japan, to contemporary narratives of globalization, postmodern identity, and the internal borders that today demarcate Japan’s regional cultures and dialects. Through close readings of these texts and films, we will explore the ways that authors in Japan—who have historically been marginalized based on race and ethnicity, class, linguistic ability, and/or gender—have sought to challenge the Japanese national literary cannon and the very notion of “the nation” itself. Students are expected to develop a related research project over the course of the term through conference work that delves deeply into the production, circulation, and reception of some aspect of modern Japanese media.


The City in Modern Japanese Literature

Open, Seminar—Spring

LITR 3804

This course examines the literary representation of urban space throughout modern and contemporary Japanese literature, considering how the figure of the city serves as a literary technique through which authors navigate issues of modernity, personal identity, the nation, and the world. Through close readings of texts written by Japanese, Korean, and Asian American authors that traverse Tokyo, Osaka, Berlin, colonized Seoul, semicolonial Shanghai, and visions of the cosmopolis of the future, we will explore the city in literature as a space that complicates and even transcends the borders of the nation in its navigation of collective histories and personal memories—with a particular focus on how representations of race, ethnicity, gender, and class intersect within the literary city. The course introduces basic concepts from urban semiotics and other philosophies of the production of space as a method for analyzing the uses of space in literature, as well as introducing recent scholarship in Japanese studies that presents new perspectives on the relationship of urban architecture, global and local geopolitics, and cultural production. We will explore a number of topics in modern, postwar, and contemporary Japanese history through the framework of “the city,” including early Japanese encounters with “the West” in the Meiji period, cosmopolitanism in the Japanese Empire, black markets in the aftermath of World War II, segregated spaces and the experiences of minority groups in the postwar period, and the social and material transformations of urban spaces in Japan after natural disasters such as the 3/11 Triple Disaster in 2011. We will also consider Japanese American engagement with the space of New York City. Through conference work, students will conduct individual research projects in service of extended creative and scholarly reflection on their own relationship to the urban space(s) they occupy and see represented in contemporary media.



Japanese I

Open, Seminar—Year

JAPN 3001

This introduction to Japanese language and culture is designed for students who have had little or no experience learning Japanese. The goal of the course is to develop four basic skills: listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing (hiragana, katakana, and some basic kanji) in modern Japanese, with an emphasis on grammatical accuracy and socially appropriate language use. Students will put these skills into practice through in-class conversation, role play and group work, and biweekly homework assignments. In addition to classes with the faculty instructor, there are weekly, one-on-one tutorials with one of the Japanese language assistants.