This presentation will demonstrate how to integrate emergent digital technologies into existing critical and pedagogical practices in the field of Japanese Literary and Cultural Studies. To that end, Dr. Ryu will debunk widespread misconceptions held by each camp about the other, buttressed by the deeply entrenched disciplinary divide between the social sciences and humanities: (1) literary analysis is a subjective interpretation with neither verifiable nor substantive evidence, and (2) computational analysis is a blunt instrument of analysis that cannot be used to illuminate the rich nuances of literary texts. In order to chip away at the aforementioned disciplinary divide, she will analyze the early 11th-century Tale of Genji, arguably one of the most complex and earliest psychological novels in world literature, through computational devices available through Voyant Tools—an open source web-based analytical program (http://voyant-tools.org/). In particular, she will offer her interpretation of Ukifune, the novel’s last heroine, as a supreme female strategist who manages to extricate herself completely from the game of love through her self-imposed silence and ends Genji monogatari itself, a veritable encyclopedia of courtly love games. This presentation will thus demonstrate how it is not only possible but enriching to obtain finely tuned statistical data about a given text, both at the micro and macro levels, in relation to a specific interpretive focus. In so doing, it gestures toward the future of Japanese literary and cultural studies in an increasingly digitalized environment, textually and otherwise.
Catherine Ryu is an associate professor of Japanese literature at Michigan State University (MSU), where she has taught for thirteen years. She is also the original inventor of Cube2Cube, a visualization system platform (U.S. patent pending). At MSU, she is a member of the Digital Humanities Learning Community in the College of Arts and Letters, and was a 2013 Spring Fellow at the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA). An author of several articles in peer-reviewed journals, her research and teaching interests include Japanese literary studies (classical and modern), Korean studies, Global studies, visual cultures, game studies, and corpus linguistics.