Genesie Miller

PhD student, Japanese

Faculty advisor: Adam Kern

Genesie MillerGenesie is a PhD student in the Department of Asian Language and Cultures and a scholar of Japanese literature and visual culture. She focuses on early modern Japanese feminine and queer sexualities in poetry and images, exploring the range of expressions of the feminine experience in early modern Japan.

“My aim is to look beyond the narrative of male connoisseurship of beautiful women and understand the diversity of feminine experiences and articulation of feminine agency in Edo media,” Genesie said.

Her dissertation examines two forms of work, comic books and bawdy verses, written by women or from feminine points of view. Genesie explores how these authors used humor to express empathy for one another and embrace their inherent failure as marginalized people to live up to society’s impossible expectations.

Another focus in Genesie’s dissertation is the artist Oei and her lesser-examined written work that provides a humorous take on feminine sexual desire. Genesie also devotes a dissertation chapter to broad attitudes toward menstruation, countering the common narrative that menstruation was shameful and taboo. Finally, she analyzes a comic book by Kurotobi Shikibu – who was 14 when she wrote it – that flips the script of a Robin Hood story by focusing on the experiences and perspectives of the girlfriends of Robin Hood’s gang.

Genesie has been invited to submit her work for An Anthology of Early Modern Japanese Graphic Narratives focused on the 18th century.

“The queer feminist analysis of my research expands how scholars and readers should understand erotic literary forms not as male-authored works intended for a male audience, but as media that values the voices of women,” Genesie said.

Genesie received a Graduate School fellowship in Fall 2019. Not only did it support her academic and professional growth, but it also helped support her financially through chronic medical issues.

Since receiving the Graduate School fellowship, Genesie has also received a MEXT Research Fellowship from the Government of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

“Being granted prior fellowships was critical in my application for MEXT funding, which allowed me to live in Japan for two years and access the resources of Waseda University’s special collections and the museums, archives, and libraries in the surrounding area,” Genesie said. “Having prior fellowships demonstrated that I am a reliable scholar who can produce results and is worth investing in.”