Please join us for a talk by Dr. Linda Galvane of University of Michigan for a talk here on campus!
Talk title: Readers, Writers, and Wipers of Modern Japan: Toilet Paper as Complex Literary Material
This talk examines toilet paper as a complex, layered, and at times, paradoxical material in literary production in modern and contemporary Japan. Several case studies will unfold toilet paper’s potential as a distinct form of aesthetic and literary materiality, whether as a thematic focus in Terada Torahiko’s 1921 essay “Asakusa Paper”, as a medium of poetry in TOTO’s ongoing senryū competitions, or as a matter of both form and content in Suzuki Kōji’s 2009 toilet paper novel Drop. I read these and other “toilet papers” against the backdrop of Japan’s modern toiletry habitus and alongside the “material turn” in the humanities and social sciences, with attention given to the concept of (inter)mediality in literary studies. Arguing that toilet paper and other forms of excremental “waste” are dynamic and agentive objects worthy of aesthetic consideration, this study contributes to scholarship in the every-broadening fields of “new materialism” and literary and media studies in Japan.
Date: May 11, 2022
Time: 2PM – 3PM
Location: Center for 21st Century Studies Conference Room, Curtin Hall 9th Floor
This event is made possible by the generous support of the Center for 21st Century Studies, the Critical Asian Humaities Research Group, and the Japanese Program at UWM