Dennis Charles Washburn

Academic Appointments

Professor of Comparative Literature, Asian Societies Cultures and Languages, & Film Studies
Burlington Northern Foundation Professor in Asian Studies in Honor of Richard M. Bressler ‘52

Openness, humility, and self-reflection are academic virtues I try (however, imperfectly) to cultivate in my teaching and research. I bring a somewhat eclectic range of approaches to bear on the subjects I investigate, though I see myself as more of a cultural translator than a theorist.  I am wary of broadly applying the critical discourses of the American academy to an analysis of Japanese culture because of the historical and ethical distortions that may result, preferring instead to focus on the practice of close and detailed reading as a means to enable interpretation within a comparative framework. In class my role is not only to provide historical and cultural context, but also to encourage a deep intellectual and emotional engagement on the part of the students. I want them first and foremost to reflect on the origins and validity of their own beliefs and values so that they may then come on equal terms -- at once rational, direct, and personal -- to the thinkers and artists we study . 

101E Bartlett
HB 6191
Asian Societies, Cultures, and Languages
Comparative Literature
Film and Media Studies
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
B.A. Harvard University
M.A. Pembroke College, Oxford University
Waseda University
Ph.D. Yale University

Selected Publications

Norton Critical Edition of The Tale of Genji (2021)

The Affect of Difference: Representations of Race in East Asian Empire (2016)

The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu, translation (2015)

Translating Mount Fuji: Modern Japanese Fiction and the Ethics of Identity , (2006)

The Dilemma of the Modern in Japanese Fiction, (1995)

Word and Image in Japanese Cinema, (2000)

Working Words: New Approaches to Japanese Studies, (2014)

Laughing Wolf , by Yuko Tsushima, translation, (2011)

Temple of the Wild Geese/Bamboo Dolls of Echizen, by Tsutomu Mizukami, translation, (2008)

Shanghai, by Yokomitsu Riichi, translation, (2001)

Converting Cultures: Ideology, Religion, and Transformations of Modernity, (2007)

The Shade of Blossoms, by Ooka Shohei, translation, (1998)

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Works in progress

Global Gothic and the Japanese sublime

Genji Lab