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Katherine Cho
Wilson
Writing 2
9 November 2015
WP2 Submission Draft
History classes get boring for students at times. As for the discipline of Japanese History,
add in the aspect of a geographically far off and completely foreign culture, and history can very
easily become downright confusing. The experts of the discourse community of Japanese
History, however, desire to eliminate these woes in order to better nurture the personal and
academic growth of the communitys students. These intentions of the community experts are
apparent in the UCSB History Departments program objectives. The Departments objectives,
and thus, the discourse community ideals, are well reflected in Luke Roberts Japanese History
through Art and Literature course texts and lectures, which include writing conventions and
rhetoric that are centered on the process of interaction with literary and artistic evidence.
The discourse community of Japanese History scholars includes experts that range from
researchers to professors, as the growing scholars of the community advance their skills under
the influence of these experts. The experts have the goal to promote the expansion of knowledge
within the community while the growing scholars themselves have the goal to acquire and
interpret that knowledge. This ideal community dynamic can only come to fruition when both the
expert and the scholar put in their fair shares of effort.
Matching up to the aforementioned expectations of the Japanese History discourse
community are the claimed objectives of the UCSB History Department, including Luke
Roberts Japanese History through Art and Literature course. The History Departments

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Homepage idealizes itself as a program that aims to broaden the UCSB student populations
understandings of the past and the present world in hopes that students would gain an
appreciation of the diverse beliefs, institutions, social arrangements, and technologies that have
shaped human experience. The UCSB History Department and Roberts course, in essence,
strive to provide programs in which students engagements with course material stretch beyond
simple comprehension. The goal is that the students have such a depth of understanding of the
course material that they actually value the significance of the acquired knowledge in and of
itself. In addition, the program stresses the importance of viewing history as something
subjective and always up for discussion and new analysis. In his course syllabus, Roberts even
states that the class will explore many aspects of culture, but I will not be trying to teach you
what Japanese cultural identity is. The History Department is just the same, seeing that, after
all, the past is never really fixed in stone. The most critical learning practice in these programs
is the emphasis on the improvement of questioning and discussion skills; students are
encouraged to assess their readings and studies from an investigative perspective. Luke Roberts
History 87 syllabus stresses to the student that he highly encourage(s) you to ask questions or
give your own comments at any point in the lecture. The course is set up this way with
intentions of producing a thought-provoking, discussion-friendly environment.
In the course of Japanese History through Art and Literature, textual selections are
provided weekly as supplements to the main lectures of the class. This disciplines texts mainly
use literature from the time period as a means of evidence to back up claims or to reinforce
important points of the texts. One of the articles required as a reading in the course was Women
of Ancient Japan: Heian Ladies by Ivan Morris. In this article, Morris uses several works of
literary evidence to strengthen his claims on his views of the court ladies of Heian Japan. Several

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times he uses examples from the famous Ancient Japanese work, The Tale of Genji as well as to
other literary accomplishments such as The Pillow Book and The Lady Who Loved Insects. These
works are well-known for being regarded by experts within the Japanese History discourse
community as being extremely rich pieces of historical evidence of Japans culture. By using
revered and respected works such as these, the evidence, in the eyes of the scholars reading the
texts, is elevated to a much more meaningful level. This ultimately leads to the increase in the
scholars overall appreciation levels for the worth of the knowledge gained from the textual
course material.
The texts provided in Roberts course always include analysis and/or general commentary
regarding the choices of literary evidence used. In the previously discussed article by Ivan
Morris, an excerpt from The Tale of Genji is used as a literary source of evidence. In the excerpt,
one of the story characters, the Governor of Hitatchi speaks about marriage politics in Japan.
After Morris provides this excerpt, he proceeds to address the evidence with his own analysis,
stating that one of the top reasons(s) for the relatively favorable position of women in Heian
Japan is the prevalent system of marriage politics. (Morris, pg. 165). This writing convention
of analytic elaboration upon presented evidence propels the readers to look much deeper than
surface level and into the content of the course materials. Just as the experts of the Japanese
History discourse community would find to be ideal, the scholars adapt to these writing
conventions and re-wire their brains gears to become more analytic and interpretive in nature.
A final writing convention for the texts within the discipline of Japanese History is that
the literary evidence used is always properly cited. In one of the peer reviewed journals from the
discipline, titled Buddhist Renunciation and the Female Life Cycle: Understanding Nunhood in
Heian and Kamakura by Lori Meeks, a coinciding source of literary evidence with Morris work,

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the evidence being The Tale of Genji, is actually used multiple times. The peer reviewed journal
includes 11 footnotes involving The Tale of Genji. Meeks makes use of such footnotes to cite the
sources of evidence properly and to correctly attribute the evidence to the place where it
orginated from, therefore establishing authenticity. In establishing authenticity, the scholars
receiving the literary evidence can more trustingly rely on it, knowing that its been run by the
experts of the discourse community and is therefore factual and dependable. With this source
legitimacy in mind, the students are then encouraged to take that literary evidence and use it
within their own discussions. This element of usable evidence not only spurs on open discussion;
it brings new depth beyond surface opinion to the table as well.
Evidence for the course not only comes in the form of literature, but in the form of art as
well. This provision of artistic aspects of evidence is more prevalent in the rhetoric of the
classroom setting. The classroom setting of the Japanese History through Art and Literature
course is set up lecture-style with the main form of media being powerpoint slide presentation. In
lecture, various pieces of artistic evidence appear on slides as pictures with corresponding
captions. In lecture, the art piece of the View of the Viceroys Palace in Mexico City is depicted
on a slide with the caption, ca. 1660, New Spain Eight-panel folding screen biombo Museo de
America Madrid. A minimal amount of information on this art piece is included in the
powerpoint slide. Typically, students in classes are accustomed to having the luxury of taking
notes off of the information that one copy down from a presentation, yet the lack of information
on the powerpoint slides allows the professor to be the primary verbal provider of the majority of
the information needed. It is the professorconsiderable as an expert of the discourse
communitywho the students must rely on for explanations of the artistic evidences provided. If
the students do not catch certain information verbally stated, they then have no choice but to take

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it upon themselves outside of class to attain the information that they had glossed over in lecture
through their own personal research efforts. This creates a classroom dynamic where students
must be attentive if they want to catch information the first time around so that they do not have
to make the class more difficult on themselves in later times. The students gain attention skills
that will help them to follow up with their course materials and assignments and ultimately,
succeed in gaining a richer understanding of the concepts of the Japanese History discipline.
In Luke Roberts most recent lecture, he discussed the artistic evidence, Biombo of a
Village Festival in Mexico. This was a piece of artwork from Mexico that was actually inspired
by Ancient Japanese-style folding screens; its considered by many experts to be artistic evidence
for the fusing of cultures and the spread of diversity in history. Again, as stated in the UCSB
History Departments homepage, the program places impotance on diverse beliefs, institutions,
(and) social arrangements The purpose of proposing artistic evidence such as this, then, is to
fulfill that exact ideal: to discuss the diverse beliefs that develop between different institutions
yet diffuse throughout social arrangements. Biombo of a Village Festival in Mexico is also known
for being a very aesthetically moving art piece, included because of its beautiful appearance.
Many other art pieces just as pleasing to the eye as this are included in the lecture, as they make
the subject of Japanese History more enjoyable for the scholars by stimulating their visual
interests. The students then correlate the physical beauty of the work with the beauty of the
actual context behind the work. This positive correlation accumulates into an overall increased
interest and appreciation for the value behind the knowledge gained from the students
interactions with these course materials.
Within his lectures, Professor Luke Roberts employs the rhetorical device of establishing
an environment of free speech and thought regarding the artistic evidences provided in the

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course. He begins the lecture by asking if anybody has any questions regarding the last lectures
concepts and/or artistic pieces. He reminds the class that if anybody has anything at all to say
then they should speak, even if it is in the middle of a lecture. Resulting from this open
environment is the development of an inquisitive mindset. When Roberts elaborates upon the
pieces of artistic evidence presented in his powerpoints, he futhers the encouragement of such a
mindset by finising his descriptions and then opening the floor to students to discuss their own
interpretations of the artwork. This reassures the scholars that they can freely express their
opinions on the artistic evidence without having the fear of being in the wrong. Not only are
discussion skills developed, but the scholars also learn to view the concepts of history as pieces
of time that can safely be viewed subjectively, just as the UCSB History Department idealizes.
The writing and rhetorical devices used in the contexts of the supplemental texts and inclass lectures of Japanese History through Art and Literature are based upon artistic and literary
evidences from ancient Japan. These devices reflect the ideals of the UCSB History Department,
and therefore in the grander scheme, reflect the expectations of the Japanese History discourse
community as a whole. The experts set these expectations to erradicate many of the difficulties
that the scholars of the discourse community may run into within the discipline of Japanese
History, as history should ideally be engaging and compelling. It must be viewed as much more
than a boring, confusing subject.

Works Cited

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Meeks, Lori. "Buddhist Renunciation and the Female Life Cycle: Understanding Nunhood in
Heian and Kamakura Japan." Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies: 1-59. Print.
Morris, Ivan. "Women of Ancient Japan: Heian Ladies." Print.
Roberts, Luke S. Japanese History through Art and Literature HIST. 87. Syllabus.
"UCSB Department of History." Undergraduate Studies. 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
<http://www.history.ucsb.edu/academics/undergraduate>.