Miryam Sas

French, Japanese, English, German

Research Areas


Miryam Sas’s research specializations include Japanese literature, film, theater, and dance; 20th century literature and critical theory (Japanese, French, English, German); and avant-garde and experimental visual and literary arts.  She began as a scholar of the experimental arts of the early twentieth century with a focus on modernist poetics and literary theory in Japan and France, reflected in her first book, Fault Lines: Cultural Memory and Japanese Surrealism (Stanford University Press, released in 2001). She is still dabbling in that field with recent translations of the nearly forgotten modernist women poets Sagawa Chika and Ema Shōko coming out in a forthcoming digital volume from Brown, Poet Sagawa Chika: Late Gathering and in a new book from New Directions. She has a strong interest in the cultural wave of the 1960s-1970s which she has explored through studies of theater, film, animation, dance, and intermedia art, for example in Experimental Arts in Postwar Japan: Moments of Encounter, Engagement, and Imagined Return  (Harvard University Asia Center Publications, 2010).   

Within Comparative Literature, she is centrally interested in theoretical writings about experimental arts, including poetics, theater, dance, film, contemporary art and photography. She has helped with curation of exhibitions or contributed catalogue essays on photography and postwar avant-gardes for New York MoMA, Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), and Bombas Gens Centre d’Art (Valencia, Spain). She also continually returns to questions of post-Holocaust representation in literature and film. She has published articles in English, Japanese, and French on subjects such as Japanese futurism, cross-cultural performance, butō dance, intermedia art, pink film and Japanese experimental animation.  Her new book on media theory and intermedia art in Japan from the 1960s to the present, Feeling Media: Potentiality and the Afterlife of Art, for which she was awarded a UC President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities, was released in Nov. 2022 from Duke University Press. 

Sas teaches a range of courses on critical theory and literary studies, Japanese and transnational Asian cinema and media, “Realism and Media” from 19th century French realist novels to infrastructural aesthetics,  and occasionally teaches introductions to Japanese cinema, anime, avant-garde cinema and film and media theory.