Selections are made from books published within a span of two calendar years. This year's recipient is Professor Reginald Jackson who is an associate professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and CJS Director of Graduate Studies.
Jackson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College and a PhD from Princeton University. He taught at Yale University and the University of Chicago before joining U-M’s faculty in 2015.
In “Textures of Mourning: Calligraphy, Mortality, and ‘The Tale of Genji Scrolls’” (2018), Jackson examined the literary and visual portrayals of death and its aftermath in “The Tale of Genji”and two adaptations, “The Illustrated Handscrolls of the Tale of Genji” and the “Resurrected Genji Scrolls.” “The Tale of Genji,” written during Japan’s Heian period (794–1185), has been called the world’s first novel.
Jackson’s “Textures of Mourning”is the first full-length manuscript in English to investigate these texts across several historical periods. Using images of original paintings and calligraphy, Jackson contextualized factual and fictional accounts of dying, decomposing, mourning and resurrecting. He also analyzed how the “Genji” texts delineate the relationship between mortality and reading at three historical tipping points.
Jackson teaches a range of courses, including Japanese Narrative Design Lab, a class on visual storytelling techniques in which students learn to analyze Japanese narratives and craft their own tales. He directs graduate studies at the Center for Japanese Studies and the accelerated master’s degree program in Transcultural Studies. He is also faculty adviser to the Japanese Studies Interdisciplinary Colloquium.
Jackson has received a Fulbright Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and an Institute for Research on Women and Gender seed grant to explore the relationship between slavery and performance in premodern Japan.