Research Interests

Japanese poetry; medieval culture; and women’s writing. Current projects deal with 14th– century poetry and related aspects of cultural production, poetry as autobiography, and canon formation. Other research interests include modern adaptations and appropriations of the pre-modern canon and medieval salon culture and the involvement of women poets.

Educational Background

M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Japanese Literature, University of California, Berkeley.


Courses Taught at UBC

JAPN 312: Classical Japanese (Term 2)
Continuation of JAPN 311. Students improve their knowledge of classical Japanese grammar and style through readings from original sources from the classical to modern ages.

ASIA 344: Topics in Japanese Cultural History: Aristocrats and Warriors
A thematic survey of major works (myth, historiography, religious tracts, poetry, drama, and fiction) from the earliest courts to the battle fields of medieval Japan.

ASIA 354: Introduction to Japanese Cinema 
An introduction to the history of cinema in Japan and to the work of major directors (e.g., Mizoguchi, Ozu, Kurosawa, Shinoda, Itami, et al.). The course material will span 90 years of filmmaking, from the early silents to more recent popular films.

ASIA 454: Japanese Poetry in Translation
An introduction to Japanese poetry (in English translation) from its origins in song and myth, to its development from a courtly art (waka) to a popular pastime (haiku). Influences on prose, autobiography, and theatre will also be considered.

ASIA 455: Adaptations of Japanese Classics
Introduction to literary, stage, and film adaptations of Japanese classics and legends. The course considers why artists are compelled to return to old stories and the ways in which these “new” works appropriate the past and comment on the present.

ASIA 464: Japanese Women’ Self-Writing
A survey of autobiographical works written by women during the Heian (794-1185) and Kamakura (1185-1333) periods. Works read in translation include poetry, travel narratives, diaries, journals, and court records.

ASIA 524B (024): Japanese for Specialists of China and Korea
A reading seminar in Japanese scholarly materials written in academic Japanese dealing with China and/or Korea for graduate students who have a reading knowledge of Chinese and/or Korean and whose studies require the incorporation of Japanese scholarship. Graduate students can satisfy their Japanese language requirement with this class with the successful completion of a final project.

ASIA 532B (024): Topics in Classical Japanese Texts: POETRY
The aim of this course is to familiarize students with the development and influence of Japanese court poetry (waka) through readings of poetry, anthologies, and treatises in the original. In addition, students will examine secondary scholarship on related topics.

Dr. Burk also taught in UBC’s first-year Arts One Programme (2005-2007).