NEH Summer Seminar: The Early Modern Vernacular Novel in China and Japan

Dates: July 25-August 19, 2022
Application deadline: March 1, 2022
Location: University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon
Stipend: $3,450
Program Directors: Maram Epstein and Glynne Walley
Format: In-person with online elements
Application at:

This four-week seminar welcomes 16 participants to the University of Oregon campus July 25-August 19, 2022 to broaden their Asian Studies and World Literature curricula. The seminar focuses on early modern vernacular literary works from China and Japan that emerged during periods of rapid urbanization and the growth of global commercial markets. We explore two novels, Plum in the Golden Vase from China and Eight Dogs from Japan, both of which are adaptations of an earlier Chinese novel, Outlaws of the Marsh. By focusing on one work from each country that derives from the same source text, we will sketch a larger picture of the circulation of texts, techniques, aesthetics, and the development of vernacular language and culture in two East Asian centers of urbanization and commercialization. The seminar will treat these works as aesthetic texts as well as sources for teaching cultural and material history. The co-directors are specialists in Chinese and Japanese early modern fiction; their research and pedagogical experience give them unique insights into these texts and into the challenges and rewards of teaching them. We invite faculty who teach undergraduates from universities and colleges, both tenure-track/tenured and non-tenure-track, as well as advanced graduate students, to apply to attend the residential seminar with generous funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Please note: Depending on public health guidelines relating to Covid-19, plans for a residential offering are subject to change. To apply, please visit our webpage ( and complete an application. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2022.