This course focuses on the writings of Japanese women from the 10th century until the present. We examine the foundations of Japan’s literary tradition represented by such early works as Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of Genji and Sei Shonagon’s Pillow Book. We then move to the late 19th century to consider the first modern examples of Japanese women’s writing. How does the existence of a “feminine literary tradition” in pre-modern Japan influence the writing of women during the modern period? How do these texts reflect, resist and reconfigure conventional representations of gender? We explore the possibilities and limits of the articulation of feminine and feminist subjectivities, as well as investigate the production of such categories as “race,” class and sexuality in relation to gender and to each other. Taught in English, with no knowledge of Japanese required.