"Conceptualising China in Modern Europe": a lecture by Professor Dr. Yixu Lu (University of Sydney / JSPS Fellow at the University of Tokyo)
"Understanding China is a challenge, not least because we tend to become involved in contradictory past understandings. From the early 18th to the middle 19th century there is a curious oscillation in Western ideas of China from the strongly positive to the equally negative. Thus, for Leibniz, on the threshold of the Enlightenment, China was defined positively as what Europe was not, whereas for Herder and Hegel China is immune to progress. Ferdinand von Richthofen displaces the myth of stagnation and sets the pendulum swinging towards a China full of the promise of an industrialised future.
"This lecture traces China’s changing image from a model of statecraft to a senile and corrupt culture in the 18th and 19th century and argues that this change is a result of sanctifying the idea of “progress” as the telos of human history in modern Europe."
Tuesday, May 21, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
University of Tokyo, Komaba, Building 18, 4th floor, Collaboration Room 3
More details at: https://conceptualisingchina.wordpress.com/
Cugoano's Economics: Urban Space and Labor in an Eighteenth-Century Slavery Narrative (31 May)
On Friday, 31st May (5.30pm - 6.45pm), Professor Carrie Shanafelt (Fairleigh Dickinson University) will give a paper at Sophia University (Yotsuya campus) titled "Cugoano's Economics: Urban Space and Labor in an Eighteenth-Century Slavery Narrative."
"In Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery, Quobna Ottobah Cugoano describes his encounters with Caribbean and British labor practices from the perspective of West African ethics. Through an Afrocentric interpretation of John Locke, Adam Smith, and the Christian Bible, Cugoano challenges the emergent libertarian discourse of human rights in the context of Atlantic slavery. Cugoano concludes that the escalation of economic and moral debts incurred through abuse of African and indigenous American peoples can only be ended by a radical form of global forgiveness. Unlike his contemporary Olaudah Equiano, who urged Africans to “modernize” by adopting European technology and competing in global markets, Cugoano instead demanded that Europe must adopt African economic ethics in order to live up to the promise of their own discourse of human rights.
This talk considers Cugoano’s Thoughts and Sentiments in the context of urban space, global economics, and travel writing of the late eighteenth century. His comparative descriptions of labor in West Africa, the Caribbean, and London reveal structural inequalities in economic systems of profit that ultimately impoverish not only enslaved and colonized persons, but also entire nations. Cugoano’s tripartite proposal for the forgiveness of British national debt—both financial and moral—offers an imagined occasion for reckoning the accounts of the past for a more inclusive and sustainable economic and political future. Dr Shanafelt compares Cugoano’s plan for total global debt forgiveness to David Graeber’s 2011 anthropological analysis of the global debt crisis, Debt: The First 5000 Years. She argues that, like Cugoano, Graeber also analyzes European capitalist economics through an Afrocentric account of alternatives to class stratification and debt slavery."
Venue: Sophia University, Building 2, room 508.
Event is free and open to all. See here for access map (nearest station is Yotsuya).
No registration is required (but please email the organizer if you are interested in coming to dinner afterwards).
Life in the Gray Zone: Reflection on Approaches to Special Needs Education in Japan (17 May)
Friday, 17 May, 13:30 - 15:00, Meiji University.
This talk explores approaches to special needs education in Japan from an anthropological perspective. Based on fieldwork at private schools that cater to special needs children and at public elementary schools, the speaker shows that contemporary approaches to education for “gray zone” children reflect varied interpretations of how to create a meaningful place for children with diverse needs in a competitive and demanding society.
Lynne Nakano is Professor in the Department of Japanese Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is author of Community Volunteers in Japan: Everyday Stories of Social Change (Routledge, 2004).
Venue: 3F 4021 Global Front Bldg., Surugadai Campus, Meiji University
Campus map / Japanese map
Contact: Dr Toru Yamada (see poster above).
Dr. Sarah Olive of the University of York (UK) will be giving a special lecture titled "Reviewing Theatre: The Case of Hamlet" at Meiji University (Surugadai Campus) on Tuesday, May 21 at 1:30 pm - 3.10 pm.
In this talk, Dr. Olive will discuss some of the fundamentals of theatre reviewing, from exploring "why write a review?", to offering tips for writing well about theatre. She will illustrate her talk with examples from a variety of productions of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Hamlet: from the recent London West End version starring British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, to a silent film version with Danish actress Asta Nielsen.
Location: Room 308G (8th floor) Academy Common, Meiji University (Surugadai Campus) . Campus map / Google map.
Free entry. No registration needed. Anyone (undergraduate students to researchers) will be welcome. Talk will be given in English (with Japanese interpretation for Q & A session).
Please contact the organiser, Alex Watson (alex_watson [at] meiji.ac.jp) for any inquiries.
(Click on either image for a downloadable flier).
On 2 June 2019 there will be a reading and party to launch the first three of this year's Isobar books.
1) NOON: An Anthology of Short Poems, edited by Philip Rowland, is a selection of poems from the Tokyo-based online journal NOON: journal of the short poem (also edited by Philip) that appeared between 2004 and 2017.
‘Short’ here means ‘fewer than fourteen lines’, and some of the poems are very short indeed: the shortest are only one or two words long. Philip has assembled a strikingly various renga-like chain of over two hundred minimalist poems by almost half as many poets, so – remarkably – the book can be read poem by poem or it can be read straight through as a single sequence with multiple authors.
'It cheers me up that there are still people on the planet who think poetry is worth such care and attention' Geraldine Monk
'Evidences the wealth of the minimalist tradition, resolutely international' – Alistair Noon
2) Other/Wise by Gregory Dunne is a volume of poems with a strongly autobiographical flavour. Gregory has lived in Japan for many years; he is the author of Quiet Accomplishment, a prose memoir of Cid Corman, who was a good friend. Part 1 ofOther/Wise is set in the US, and parts 2 and 3 in Japan. There are poems of friendship, marriage, family and vocation, and elegies for teachers, friends and parents, with a particularly strong group of poems of marriage and family in part 3.
'An open-hearted journey of fatherhood, friendship, and faith faith in the honest truths to be found in this life and celebrated in poetry' Richard Jones)
3) On Arrival gathers many of the poems Paul Rossiter wrote in the 1980s, most of them with East or South East Asian settings. There are poems from the Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand, plus one each from the USA and Australia. The title section of the book consists of ‘notebook poems’ chronicling the author’s first year in Japan in 1981–1982, and there is also a section titled ‘Current Accounts’, which consists of short sharp comments on public events towards the end of the decade: perestroika, economic bubbles, the rise of fundamentalism, and the first Gulf War.
There is more information about all three books, plus PDF samples from the books and links to the various Amazons on the Isobar Press website.
Please come and help to celebrate the publication of these books!
DATE: 2 June 2019
TIME: Doors open 19:00, readings start at 19:30
PLACE: Flying Books, 6-3 Dogenzaka 1-Chome, Shibuya, 150-0043
ENTRANCE: ¥1500 (includes one free drink)
A cash bar will be open during the event. No reservation necessary.
Tokyo Humanities - Events
Upcoming humanities-related events in Tokyo.