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Next week I will talk at the International Symposium Japanese Theatre Transcultural: German and Italian Perspectives 27 – 29 November 2009. Universität Trier, Germany. Here is the abstract of my paper, entitled ‘The International Noh Institute of Milan: Transmission of Ethics and Ethics of Transmission in the transnational Context’.
The paper explores the intersection of aesthetics and ethics in Noh practice. Noel Pinnington (2006) has discussed the primacy of the concept of michi as ‘path through life’ in the writings of Zeami and Konparu Zenchiku, where spiritual and ethical virtues are a necessary condition for aesthetic achievement. Today Noh is taught in various contexts outside Japan, reflecting different agendas of teachers and trainees. How are the ethical aspects of Noh considered in contemporary non-Japanese teaching environments? What are the implications of introducing the ethics embedded in Noh practice outside its original context? Taking on Levinas’s ‘ethics of responsibility’, the paper will use theories of ‘legitimate peripheral participation’ (Lave & Wenger 1992) to explore the community of learners and the teaching methodology of the International Noh Institute.