Events

Upcoming Events

Time:
19:30 (Door open at 19:00)
Speaker:
  • Andrew L. Oros (Professor of Political Science and Director of International Studies, Washington College)

For decades after World War II, Japan chose to focus on soft power and economic diplomacy alongside a close alliance with the United States. Since the end of the Cold War, and especially during the rise of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan’s military capabilities have resurged. In this analysis of Japan’s contemporary security policies, Andrew L. Oros shows how a “gradual awakening” to new security challenges has culminated in the multifaceted “security renaissance” of the past decade. Contested memories of the Pacific War and Imperial Japan, postwar anti-militarist convictions, and an unequal relationship with the United States still play an outsized role. In Japan’s Security Renaissance Oros argues that Japan’s…
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Time:
19:30 (Door open at 19:00)
Speaker:
  • Ian Condry (Cultural anthropologist and Professor at MIT)

As sci-fi writer William Gibson has said, “The future is already here; it is just unevenly distributed.”  With the on-going decline of the recording industry, music offers a natural experiment in emerging forms of social economies, and thus presents pictures of what a post-capitalist future might be.  By comparing diverse examples of how musicians make livelihoods today, we can observe how social and economic values are complexly intertwined. Examples are drawn from Japan and the US, and will include pop idols (real and virtual), the underground DJ scene, and crowd-funding efforts to support musical projects.

Time:
19:30 (Door open at 19:00)
Speaker:
  • Jane Yamashiro

Growing up in the United States, Japanese Americans learn to understand their Japanese heritage within US-based narratives of racism, cultural exclusion, and multiculturalism. What happens when they move to Japan, where the discourse of Japanese homogeneity and uniqueness shapes what it means to be “Japanese”? What difficulties related to phenotype and language do Japanese American migrants encounter in their daily interactions as they attempt to make themselves understandable in Japan? Redefining Japaneseness: Japanese Americans in the Ancestral Homeland (Rutgers University Press, 2017), chronicles how Japanese Americans’ understandings of Japaneseness – including their own – transform while living in Japan. Drawing from extensive fieldwork and interviews, Jane H. Yamashiro reveals the diverse processes and…
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Time:
19:30 (Door open at 19:00)
Speaker:
  • Michael Plugh (Assistant Professor of Communication at Manhattan College)

As scholars continue to debate the contours of globalization in the early-21st century, people around the world are forced to confront shifting experiences of connectedness, both within communities and between them. Among the many factors responsible for this shift, technology plays a central role. In particular, communication technology has given new form to our symbolic environment. With new pressures applied to traditional understandings of national and cultural identity, societies are thrust into reconsidering their terms of belonging. What does it mean to be Japanese in a world of complex connections? How do “discourses of Japaneseness” accommodate change, while reproducing important traditional associations and values? In his talk, Dr. Plugh will…
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Time:
19:30 (Door open at 19:00)
Speaker:
  • Ran Zwigenberg (Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University)

Both home and abroad, Japan’s castles serve as prominent symbols of local, regional, and national identity. Castles occupy the center of most major Japanese cities and are universally recognizable as sites of heritage and as a link to the nation’s past. The current prominence of castles obscures their troubled modern history. After the restoration of 1868, castles, no longer of immediate military significance, became symbols of authority, on one hand, and of vaunted tradition on the other. Castles were major sites of exhibitions, where they were often contrasted with Japan’s achievements in acquiring modern technology, serving as potent illustrations of Wakon-yosai (Japanese spirit and Western technology). As the specific role…
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