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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Navigating a "floating world": Teaching Basho as a Way towards Global Citizenship

John Thompson.

Matsuo Basho (1644-94), one of Japan's greatest poets, has much to teach us about becoming truly global citizens. In this paper I will offer my reflections on my experience of teaching Basho's travelogues to U.S. college students as a way of drawing them out of their initial parochial views towards an understanding and appreciation of our larger shared humanity. Basho presents us with a true paradox: he is uniquely and distinctly Japanese yet his writing draws us through his lines and shows us where and how we can find and share our true selves. Such practices are precisely what we need at this time if we are to hold forth a truly global humanism.


John Thompson  (United States)
Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy
Department of Religion and Philosophy
Hood College

  • Japan
  • haiku
  • Nature
  • Zen
  • humanity
Person as Subject
  • Basho, Matsuo

(Virtual Presentation, English)