This course is a selective survey of major developments in Japanese visual cultures (art and architecture). Particular emphasis is placed on the relationship between art and history, religion, and literature of pre- and early modern Japan and some contemporary examples. While the course moves somewhat chronologically, it also demonstrates fluidity between traditions of the distant past and their modern manifestations. The course examines themes such as the creation of religious images and spaces; the process of picturing political and economic authority; the social identity of artists and workshop production; the elite and commoner patronage and consumption; the use and re-use of the visual past to promote ideological claims; gender and representation; and the impact of foreign art in Japan. It also addresses issues specific to history of art and the sociology of art in order to accommodate students who are unfamiliar with these academic disciplines.