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Bruce Baird

Associate Professor; Graduate Program Director of Japanese

(413) 577-4992

Herter 717

Bruce Baird received his B.A. from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in Japanese language and literature from University of Pennsylvania. Research interests include Japanese dance (butoh), Japanese philosophy, Japanese new media studies, and Japanese performance. Teaching responsibilities include Japanese theater, Japanese manga and anime, Japanese video games, and Japanese film.

His book Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh: Dancing in a Pool of Gray Grits (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) is a lively examination of the formation of the dance form butoh—one of the most important dance forms of the 20th century. In it, Baird argues that butoh (also known as butô) should be seen as a bodily response to the conflicts in Japan in the 1960-1980s, and as an embodiment of the information age. This book was nominated for the 2012-2013 biannual International Convention of Asian Scholars Book Prize. He is currently working on a broader history of butoh, which will examine how the art changed and evolved as it spread beyond Tokyo to the world. He is the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships.

Research Areas

  • Butoh and Japanese dance
  • Japanese performance
  • Japanese new media studies including manga, anime and video games
  • Japanese philosophy and intellectual history

Courses Recently Taught

  • Japanese 597K: Japanese Video Games
  • Japanese 197E: Japanese Cinema 
  • Japanese 197L: Manga and Anime 
  • Japanese 235: Japanese Drama and Theater