Call for Essay Proposals

Proposals are invited for a volume tentatively entitled Teaching Postwar Japanese Fiction. This volume in the MLA’s Options for Teaching series aims to bring together essays describing innovative and successful approaches to teaching Japanese fiction to an undergraduate audience. The terms postwar and fiction are interpreted broadly, and the volume will encompass approaches to narrative works, including manga, written since Japan’s defeat in 1945. The audience for this collection is both specialists in the field of Japanese literary studies and teachers across disciplines who may be interested in incorporating Japanese fiction into their classrooms. The volume will primarily address teaching works in translation but individual essays will include discussion of teaching the works in the original Japanese. This collection will expose readers to an assortment of pedagogical approaches appropriate for student audiences in a range of settings.

Contributions could provide general background; cover topics under such headings as the canon, war and memory, gender and sexuality, marginalized peoples, environmental concerns, and cross-cultural encounters; or focus on particular pedagogical, institutional, and classroom situations. Possible topics might be autobiographical fiction, orientalism, teaching in translation, “nihongo” literature, disaster, food, politics, adaptation, genre, or individual authors—for example, Mishima Yukio, Yū Miri, Ishimure Michiko, Murakami Haruki, and Tawada Yōko. Other essays may explore the use of Japanese fiction in history, gender studies, or Japanese-language courses. Multidisciplinary approaches are especially welcome.  Every essay proposal should state how the essay will apply to the needs of teachers and students.

Your abstract should make clear your intended topic and its relevance to teaching Japanese literature; it should also contain specifics about the classroom practices (e.g., readings, assignments, exercises), theories, or other critical scholarship that will play a role in the essay. Please note that any quotations from a student or student paper require written permission from the student. Your abstract should argue the value of your intended topic to a broad range of instructors and students.

If you are interested in contributing an essay of 2500–3000 words, please submit an abstract of 500 words to Alex Bates (