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Katherine Whatley

Ph.D. Student in Japanese (ELAC)
Other Tech - Graduate, Stanford Arts Institute

My research focuses on how gender informs music and literature in premodern Japan. Through studying the koto—Japanese transverse harp—and Japanese pre-modern music more generally, I examine the intersection of gender and music in the Heian period, and the transcultural interactions between Japan and East Asia during the pre-modern era. My methodology is necessarily transdisciplinary: combining literary analysis, musicology, and the study of material culture in order to understand the function of music in the premodern era. It is also feminist in nature; I study musical motifs and gender roles in Heian-era literary works, combined with feminist analysis to understand how women expressed their emotions and related to the world around them through music and writing. Through focusing on music and gender, I seek the voices the voices of those who have long been forgotten. I hope to amplify the connections between cultures and peoples, relationships that are not always heard.

 

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