SFU English 380: Mutilation and Foreign Relations in the Japanese Novel

A class blog for students of English 380 - "Literature in Translation" - at Simon Fraser University in Autumn 2005.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

More on Wiki Dangers

Contra the use of Wikipedia for scholarly research, read this NYT article on "Rewriting History: Snared in the Web of a Wikipedia Liar."

Friday, December 02, 2005

Course Reflection

Now that the lecture series is over you are occupied writing your term papers: these will reflect your engagement with the ideas that the texts and the lectures have introduced you, and hopefully been an intellectual benefit, to.

Because you have compleated your course evaluations, I am free to say how much I have enjoyed this term: I honestly looked forward to every class and I'm sure I will remember all your contributions for many, many years.

I hope to teach this course again, and so I would love to know how I can improve. If you have opinions in that regard which you could not give full enough expression to on the evaluation forms, please take a moment or two, once your papers are compleated, to remember us and return here and add your analysis, suggestions, complaints, &c (anonymously, of course), to this post.

Again, my sincere thanks: I hope you all stay in touch:
Mina-san, Sayonara - anata-tachi wa totemo subarashii desu. Arigato gozaimasita!"

Group Blog Project

I've now taken an electronic snapshot of each of your group blogs. Please keep them running: I will be analying the live version and checking your links, reading your profiles, &c. You are welcome to keep posting past the due date -- to keep in contact, add interesting items, etc.

Can you believe I get paid for this?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The "Noh Mask Effect"

I found this web page showing an effective moving three-dimensional graphic of the noh mask effect - the capability of a fixed mask representing different emotions in the control of a skilled actor.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Civilisation Fundamentals

The course thesis that civilisations each have their unique identity -- essentially, a set of assumptions, virtues and traditions -- which is accepted unconsciously by its members and is absolutely untranslatable, receives incidental support from a CNN article, here, treating the aftermath of the recent Al Qaeda bombings of hotels in Jordan.
The article reports that:
Family members of Jordanian-born al Qaeda in Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have renounced the terror leader, telling King Abdullah II on Sunday that they would "sever links with him until doomsday."
Setting aside here any matters of content relative to Islamic terrorism, the relevant point for our course is the reason why al-Zarqawi has been cut off by his tribal family now and not for any of his previous acts of terror. In a phrase, al-Zarqawi has in this case violated a value fundamental to the identity of the wider tribal culture whichto which he belongs by birth. The article gives a specific quotation from his family group which states the violation in its own cultural terms:
"A Jordanian doesn't stab himself with his own spear," they wrote. "We sever links with him until doomsday."

"Geisha" & Cultural Translation

Regarding the motion picture that Tina linked us to as part of her presentation on geisha, one review after its recent release is headlined "Geisha' loses Japanese nuances on big screen" -- which, after our current course, we could have predicted ....

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Group Blogs

We'll use this post as a place to broadcast our class' group blog URLs. Now that everyone is confident about what they are doing, no-one will mind others scoping their blog.

When you do visit another group's blog, why not leave them a comment to say you've been, and any compliments and suggestions that you may have. That would be blogosphere synergy: an aggregate of individuals improving the quality of the larger system.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


I remember saying in the hurly-burly of Thursday's seminar discussion that I would blog a couple of passing points. I cannot, alas, bring to mind what they were. Can any one of you recall?

Group Project Workshop

In our second hour this coming Tuesday we will move to the Assignment Lab in the W.A.C. Bennett Library, room 2105, for a workshop on your Group Project and on related library research methods. I will be available to answer questions, give advice on blogging, and examine and critique your progress to date.

Here is a link or three to some blogging of mine on How to Blog Effectively.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Final Paper Criteria

The term paper, thirty-five hundred words long independent of footnotes, has an open topic based on your literary analysis of any two or more of our required or recommended Course texts. Your collective engagement with the course material is strong and varied and would be emasculated or emammalated by pre-set topics. In order to ensure that your individual topic is strong, concise and workable, everyone must have his or her thesis statement validated by me, in writing, on or before Thursday November 24th at the conclusion of my Office Hours.
You can consult with me in my office (AQ6095) both during regular Office Hours or by appointment, where I will also willingly go over your thesis paragraph with you. I am also available by e-mail right up to the deadline on specific points of refinement.

Update: Remember to send me e-mail from your SFU account only.
Update II: I have decided to extend the deadline four days until midnight December 5th. The arrangement agreed upon to balance the effects of the CUPE job action on the mid-term paper deadline is in effect. Please verify with me individually your status in this regard.