CJS Research Webinar – Imagination and the Real: The Stakes of History

Thursday 10 November 2022
18:00-19:00 GMT
Online via Zoom

About the Talk

Our event features presentations drawing from the recent special issue of Japan Forum on Imagination and the Real. The five essays from UCLA graduates and students ranging from the ancient to the contemporary treat a diversity of subjects, intersecting historical fields, and other disciplines. All five nonetheless present histories that underscore historical difference and the contentions that structure apparent reality itself with exclusions, distinctions, and competing claims of legitimacy and capacity—and demonstrate how alternative conceptions merit consideration as historical objects.

Emi Foulk Bushelle (Western Washington University) and Kelly Midori McCormick (University of British Columbia) will elaborate the stakes of their respective contributions: Bushelle considers the fundamentally salvationist and non-geographical, non-national orientation of medieval Buddhist invocations of community against its obscurement by early modern and modern commenters. McCormick considers the work of 20th century pioneering photographer Tokiwa Toyoko and her centering of working women against a background of desiring gazes to create a counter practice of realism beyond male gazes, representations, and power structures.

William Marotti (UCLA) will discuss the commonalities and strengths of these wide-ranging studies and their stakes for grounded historical inquiry, opening our understanding of obscured but essential aspects of the social and historical difference itself.

About the Speakers

William Marotti (left) is an Associate Professor of History and Chair of the East Asian Studies MA IDP Program at UCLA. He teaches modern Japanese history with an emphasis on everyday life and cultural-historical issues. Marotti’s Money, Trains and Guillotines: Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan (Duke University Press, 2013) addresses politics in Japan in the 1960s through a focus upon avant-garde artistic production and performance. His current book project, “The Art of Revolution: Politics and Aesthetic Dissent in Japan’s 1968,” analyzes cultural politics and oppositional practices in Japan with particular emphasis on 1968 as a global event. www.history.ucla.edu/marotti

Emi Foulk Bushelle (PhD UCLA History, 2016 – centre) is an Associate Professor at Western Washington University, where she teaches Japanese history. Her research interests span from the medieval to the modern, with particular attention to Kokugaku, waka poetics, and the history of philology in Japan. She is currently working on a book project, “Worldly Language, Sacred Texts: Buddhist Philology and the Origins of National Learning in Early Modern Japan.” 

Kelly McCormick (right) is Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia. Her current book project addresses the Japanese women photographers who owned studios, made fascist propaganda, and turned their cameras against corporations and the state from the 1930s-1970s. She is the co-director of “Behind the Camera: Gender, Power, and Politics in the History of Japanese Photography” behindthecamerajapan.arts.ubc.ca

Keen to learn more about Japan’s cultural influence? Check out our MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies.

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