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B.A., Philosophy/Religion, minor in East Asian Studies, Japan. Colgate University, Hamilton, NY (1983).

Non-degree research fellow, Tenri University, Japan (1987-1988).

M.A., Japanese Language and Literature. Indiana University, Bloomington, IN (1992).

Non-degree research fellow, Hosei University, Japan (1992-1994). 

Ph.D., Japanese Language and Literature. University of Washington, Seattle, WA (1997). 
Dissertation title: "The Intersection of Aesthetics and Ideology: The Criticism of Kobayashi Hideo, 1927-1945."


Dr. James Dorsey is currently an Associate Professor (Japanese) in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures (DAMELL) in Dartmouth College. Since joining the faculty in 1997, Dr. Dorsey taught a broad range of courses on topics that include traditional to modern Japanese literature and wartime culture. He is also known in Dartmouth College for his refreshing take on Japanese language courses, where he aims to train the language learners' cultural competency through the usage of cultural texts and other supporting materials in English language. Dr. Dorsey has also been the Director of Dartmouth College's 10-week Language Study Abroad (LSA+) program in Japan in years 1998 to 1999, 2003 to 2006, and 2008 to 2010.

Research and Academic Interests

Dr. Dorsey has a wide range of topics that fall under his areas of academic interests. These include, but are not exclusive to:

  • Japanese literary criticism and thought
  • Modern Japanese fiction
  • Literary theory
  • Intellectual history
  • Medieval Japanese Drama
  • Function of culture in wartime Japan (1937-1945)
  • Postwar Japanese popular culture: Manga and Folk Music (1960s-1970s)
  • National and cultural identity
  • Nationalism and wartime ideology
  • Issues and practice of translation

Selected Publications

Dr. Dorsey has several number of publications and translation projects under his name, though he is more notably known for his involvement on studies of novelist and essayist Sakaguchi Ango and literary critic Kobayashi Hideo. These again, include but are not exclusive to:
  • Literary Mischief: Sakaguchi Ango, Culture, and the War, ed. James Dorsey and Doug Slaymaker, with translations by James Dorsey (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010).

  • Critical Aesthetics: Kobayashi Hideo, Modernity, and Wartime Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009).

  • "Literary Tropes, Rhetorical Looping, and the Nine Gods of War: 'Fascist Proclivities' Made Real," in The Culture of Japanese Fascism, ed. Alan Tansman (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2009), pp. 409~431.

  • "From Ideological Literature to a Literary Ideology: ‘Conversion’ in Wartime Japan," in Converting Cultures: Religion, Ideology and Transformations of Modernity, ed. Dennis Washburn and A. Kevin Reinhart. (Leiden & Boston: Brill 2007), pp. 465~483.

  • Translation: No More Hiroshima, Nagasaki, ed. Kuroko Kazuo & Shimizu Hiroyoshi (Tokyo: Nihon tosho sentaa, 2005).

  • "Sakaguchi Ango," in Modern Japanese Writers, ed. Jay Rubin (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2000), pp. 31~48.

  • "Urasawa Naoki's Twentieth Century Boys: Manga and the End of Japan's 1960s," in Graphic Subjects: Critical Essays on Graphic Novels and Autobiography, ed. Michael Chaney (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, forthcoming).

Involvement in Teaching Japanese Popular Culture Conference, NUS

Dr. Dorsey will be participating in the Teaching Japanese Popular Culture Conference in National University of Singapore as a presenter of his topic "Teaching the Language of Love: Blending Language Learning and Cultural Analysis with Japanese Love Songs".

"Teaching the Language of Love: Blending Language Learning and Cultural Analysis with Japanese Love Songs."*

Dr. Dorsey's presentation revolves around the concept of blending language teaching and cultural studies as a different approach to Japanese Studies. His presentation offers one instructor's attempt in implementing such an approach for advanced Japanese language learners. The course as proposed and implemented involves the use of Japanese popular songs dealing with love, marriage, sex and gender as cultural texts of study alongside certain traditional language teaching activities. The "texts" are divided into four categories: enka/"oldies(1945-1965), folk/"new music" (1965-1972), J-Pop/idols (1972-present) and other. The songs of each era reveal a unique cultural grammar of love.

The incorporation of traditional language study activities in this course is accompanied by an inclusion of English language readings on historical background, performer careers, popular music theory, etc. Approximately 20% of class meetings are allocated for discussion in English. Such discussions would involve students analysing raw material in Japanese with supplementary readings in English. These same ideas are again reviewed later in target-language (Japanese) sessions. The course has been successful in demonstrating to students the degree to which "common-sense" concepts such as love and gender in cultural texts are really a little more than byproducts of historical moments, social class and language. 

In 2009, Dr. Dorsey has also previously done a similar presentation in Bridging Japanese Language and Japanese Studies in Higher Education: Forum on Integrative Curriculum and Program Development hosted by DePaul University. A course similar to what will be mentioned in his presentation in NUS titled "Ai no uta wo kike! Nihontaishubunka ni okeru 'ai', 'sei', 'kekkon' (Listen up for Love Songs! Love, Sex and Marriage in Japanese Popular Culture)" has also been previously implemented by Professor Dorsey himself as part of Dartmouth College's LSA+ program. 

*Content of paragraph is adapted from presentation outline as provided by Dr. James Dorsey. 

Recent Involvements in Previous Conferences/Forums

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