Christina Laffin

Canada Research Chair in Premodern Japanese Literature and Culture

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
Renewed: 2016-11-01
The University of British Columbia
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


Research involves

Examining transformations in the status of Japanese women from the 9th through 17th centuries.

Research relevance

This multidisciplinary research will expand our understanding of women’s contributions to pre-modern culture.

Why Women Flourished as Writers in Japan

The writings of aristocratic women in pre-modern Japan were so valued that they continued to be reproduced and circulated through the ages.

Dr. Christina Laffin, Canada Research Chair in Premodern Japanese Literature and Culture, is investigating how these women were able to work as scribes, memoirists, poets, novelists and scholars, despite being limited by marriage practices, inheritance patterns and property rights.

Laffin is documenting how these women were educated and socialized, the texts and practices they studied and the social and economic opportunities they had. She is also exploring what motherhood meant in medieval Japan and who was responsible for childcare.

Laffin’s research demonstrates the significant role these women played in shaping Japanese literature and shows how their impact has changed over time.

By illuminating periods in which women writers flourished, Laffin’s research will deepen our understanding of the historical conditions necessary for women to excel as authors, scholars and teachers. It will also enhance our understanding of women as cultural producers.