Building on the strong tradition of intellectual history in Cornell’s Japanese studies, the East Asia Program (EAP) is developing a new initiative on contemporary Japanese thought led by Pedro Erber, associate professor of Romance studies and new director of EAP. The initiative intends to return attention to the place of Japan in our contemporary world. Both peripheral and central to conceptions of the modern and post-modern world, Japan has been a locus of global intellectual and artistic activity through the 20th and 21st centuries.
“East Asia occupies an increasingly central position in the global political landscape, which the old model of US-centric Area Studies is unable to address,” said Erber. “We at the East Asia Program look forward to the challenges this new moment presents.”
The Contemporary Japanese Thought initiative speaker series will kick off Thursday, October 18th, with the visit of William Marotti, professor of Japanese history and Chair of East Asian Studies M.A. at UCLA. Marotti’s Oct. 18 talk will be at 4:30 pm and will take place in Rockefeller Hall ,Room 374 (Asian Studies lounge).
Titled, “Violence, Glue-sniffing, Liberation: 1968 Japan,” Marotti’s lecture will look back 50 years to a pivotal point in contemporary history and one of the global hot spots for civil and social upheaval: January of 1968. Violent confrontations between protesters and police in Tokyo and other parts of Japan transformed perceptions of state force and legitimacy, creating new political possibilities within a global 1968. Marotti will consider the relation between a politics of violence and space, and the radical cultural politics of the moment, including art, theater, counterculture, and abject communities.
On Oct. 22, Thomas Lamarre (McGill University) will give the second talk in the Contemporary Japanese Thought series, on the production and receptions of new media in East Asia, which he calls “affective media geographies.” The talk is co-sponsored by the Central New York Humanities Corridor.
A second speaker series, East-Asia-Latin-America, will focus on the connections between Asia and Latin America. It launches on Nov. 15 with a talk by Verónica Kim (University of Pittsburg), cosponsored by the Latin American Studies Program.