Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature
Ashton received his Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Literatures from Yale University. His research focuses on performance and literature in medieval Japan, particularly folk performance cultures and their relationship to social order and elite authority. His broader interests include literary and cultural studies, performance history, and critical theory. He is currently working on a monograph, High/Low: Symbolic Inversion in Early Medieval Japan, which draws on an array of textual and visual media to highlight the power of folk performance to create charged spaces of interclass contact and articulate new forms of expressive culture. Other projects include a translation of a twelfth-century collection of folk songs, a study of the disciplinary emergence of performance history (geinōshi) in the early-twentieth century, and an essay on Tomita Isao’s electronic arrangements of the classical music canon. Ashton’s writing has appeared in The Proceedings of the Association of Japanese Literary Studies.