Tracing Shumi: Politics and Aesthetics in Modern Japanese Literary Discourse and Fiction
On 30 January 2024 Jurre van der Meer successfully defended a doctoral thesis and graduated.
- A.J. van der Meer
- 30 January 2024
- Leiden Repository
My project, Tracing Shumi: Politics and Aesthetics in Modern Japanese Literary Discourse and Fiction, traces the concept of shumi (趣味) in late 19th and early 20th century Japanese literary discourse and fiction. The word shumi was introduced in the 1880s as a translation word for the notion of 'taste'. However, my project aims to show how the word operated beyond a mere translation of an idea. Instead, I demonstrate how shumi was used to rhetorically frame the ways in which people were supposed to behave, sense, and consume and which actors and institutions benefited from such discursive frameworks. Yet at the same time, this dissertation argues that the language of shumi also undermined the very ideological structures it sought to engender. Ultimately, Tracing Shumi, sheds light on how modernity unfolds in the intersection of politics and aesthetics, beyond a limited imagination of politics entirely in terms of power and of aesthetics solely in terms of beauty, at a specific juncture in Japanese history.
Supervisor: Prof.dr. I.B. Smits
Co-supervisor: Dr. Y. Horsman