Otilia Milutin pic
Office
FIC Freeman LF01B
Tel
(802) 443-5570
Email
omilutin@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Spring 2024: Monday and Wednesday, 3:30-5:00 p.m. or by appointment.

Otilia Milutin teaches Japanese language and literature at Middlebury. She received her Ph.D from the University of British Columbia in 2015 and her M.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Before coming here, she taught at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) and Knox College (Galesburg, Illinois). She specializes in premodern Japanese literature, language and culture, with a focus on issues related to sex, gender and sexuality in Japanese court tales. She is currently finalizing her research on representations of sexual violence in Heian and Kamakura monogatari and conducting new research on contemporary adaptations of Japanese classics in manga, anime and film. Her other research and teaching interests include femmes fatales in Japanese literature and sex and censorship in Japanese cinema.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Senior Thesis
A senior thesis is normally completed over two semesters. During Fall and Winter terms, or Winter and Spring terms, students will write a 35-page (article length) comparative essay, firmly situated in literary analysis. Students are responsible for identifying and arranging to work with their primary language and secondary language readers, and consulting with the program director before completing the CMLT Thesis Declaration form. (Approval required.)

Terms Taught

Winter 2024, Spring 2024, Winter 2025, Spring 2025

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Course Description

From Godzilla to Totoro: Monsters in Japanese Culture
In this course we will examine a series of Japanese monsters (foxes, badgers, demons, vengeful spirits, and others), which populate Japanese myths, tales, folklore, art, and popular culture, in order to understand how the fear of the Other leads to marginalization and demonization and how monsters are created to contain undesirable figures. We will also explore the literary expressions of cultural anxieties generated by lack of understanding or misunderstanding of phenomena, such as the powers of nature and the afterlife, as well as the existential terrors resulting from trauma and war. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2023

Requirements

CW, LIT, NOA

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Course Description

Modern and Contemporary Japanese Women Writers
A thousand years ago, women writers dominated the Japanese literary world. Then, for centuries, their skill was discounted, their works overlooked, and their voices silenced. Starting with the nineteenth century, however, Japanese women writers started to reclaim their grandmothers’ heritage. They took the male-dominated literary world by assault, pushing boundaries, drawing on their literary legacy and reinventing it, resisting the label of “women’s literature” so often pejoratively attached to their works. In this course we will explore these figures of resistance and their multilayered works in the context of the changing socio-political conditions that shaped women’s positions in Japanese society.3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2024

Requirements

AAL, LIT, NOA

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Course Description

First-Year Japanese
This course is an introduction to the modern Japanese language aimed at acquisition of the four basic skills speaking, listening comprehension, reading, and writing. The emphasis is on thorough mastery of the basic structures of Japanese through intensive oral-aural practice and extensive use of audiovisual materials. The two kana syllabaries and kanji (characters) will be introduced toward the goals of developing reading skills and reinforcing grammar and vocabulary acquisition. 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. drill

Terms Taught

Fall 2024

Requirements

LNG

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Course Description

First-Year Japanese
This course is an intensive continuation of JAPN 0101. This course is required for those students wishing to take JAPN 0103 in the Spring. (JAPN 0101)

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

LNG, WTR

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Course Description

Modern and Contemporary Japanese Women Writers
A thousand years ago, women writers dominated the Japanese literary world. Then, for centuries, their skill was discounted, their works overlooked, and their voices silenced. Starting with the nineteenth century, however, Japanese women writers started to reclaim their grandmothers’ heritage. They took the male-dominated literary world by assault, pushing boundaries, drawing on their literary legacy and reinventing it, resisting the label of “women’s literature” so often pejoratively attached to their works. In this course we will explore these figures of resistance and their multilayered works in the context of the changing socio-political conditions that shaped women’s positions in Japanese society. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Spring 2024

Requirements

AAL, LIT, NOA

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Course Description

Modern Japanese Fiction (in English)
In this course we will examine the development of Japanese literature from the Meiji restoration (1868) through WWII. During this period of rapid and often tumultuous modernization, fiction played a crucial role in the creation of the nation-state and in the formation of the individual's sense of self. We will read works by writers who participated actively in the imagination of modernity and those who resisted it, including Kunikida Doppo, Higuchi Ichiyo, Natsume Soseki, and Mori Ogai. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

AAL, LIT, NOA

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Course Description

Sex and Death in Classical Japanese Culture
In this course we will examine the topics of sex and death in classical Japanese literature and culture, starting with the earliest creation myths of the 8th century, continuing with the masterpieces of the Heian period (794-1185), and culminating with the vibrant culture of the Edo period (1600-1868). We will explore a variety of genres, including poetry, courtly romances and warrior tales, noh and jōruri drama, short stories and novellas, emaki painted scrolls, and early modern woodblock prints, focusing on the ways in which sex and death come to be addressed and represented in classical Japanese culture. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2024

Requirements

AAL, LIT, NOA

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Course Description

Reading Japanese Culture through Anime
In this course we will explore contemporary Japanese culture through the lens of Anime Studies. We will employ historical, literary, linguistic, and anthropological perspectives, as well as interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches (Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Fan Studies). We will watch, read, and study both stand-alone anime movies, as well as selected episodes from anime series, to understand the cultural and historical contexts that generated these works and how they in turn shape national and international media culture.

Terms Taught

Spring 2024

Requirements

ART, HIS, NOA

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Course Description

The Tale of Genji (in English)
/The Tale of Genji/ is the world’s first psychological novel. This rich narrative centers on the political intrigues and passionate love affairs of Genji, a fictional prince barred from the throne. In this course we will explore the narrative through a close reading in English translation. Students will gain knowledge of the aesthetic, religious, and social contexts of the Heian period, one of the most vibrant eras in Japanese culture. We will also trace how Genji monogatari has been interpreted over ten centuries in art, theater, films, and most recently, manga. (Formerly JAPN 0190) 3hrs. lect/disc. This course is part of the Public Humanities Labs Initiative administered by the Axinn Center for the Humanities.*

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2023

Requirements

AAL, LIT, NOA

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Course Description

Third-Year Japanese
This advanced course aims to increase the student's proficiency in modern standard Japanese, both spoken and written. A variety of written and audiovisual materials will be used to consolidate and expand mastery of more advanced grammatical points and vocabulary. Oral presentation, discussion, and composition in Japanese are also important components of the course. (JAPN 0202 or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. drill

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

LNG

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Course Description

Third-Year Japanese
This course is a continuation of JAPN 0301. (JAPN 0301 or placement exam) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. drill

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

LNG

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Course Description

Qualified students may be permitted to undertake a special project in reading and research under the direction of a member of the department. Students should seek an advisor and submit a proposal to the department well in advance of registration for the term in which the work is to be undertaken.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Winter 2023, Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Winter 2025, Spring 2025

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Course Description

Honors Thesis
Students write a thesis in English with a synopsis in Japanese on literature, film, or culture. The topic for the thesis is chosen in consultation with the instructor. (JAPN 0475)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Winter 2023, Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Winter 2025, Spring 2025

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Publications