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Bodies and Structures: Making Sense of Space in Japan and the Japanese Empire

May 26, 2016 - May 27, 2016

Triangle Center for Japanese Studies Workshop

Conveners: Kate McDonald (History, UCSB), David Ambaras (History, NCSU)

May 26-27, 2016

UNC FedEx Global Education Center

301 Pittsboro St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516




Thursday, May 26 (Room 2010)


Opening remarks and self-introductions


Key concepts (1): Space/spatiality, territory/territoriality, borders, mobility

  • David Harvey, “Space as a key word,” in Spaces of Global Capitalism, 119-48 (London: Verso, 2006)
  • Alexander B Murphy, “Entente Territorial: Sack and Raffestin on Territory,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30, no. 1 (2012): 159-172
  • Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilsen, “The Proliferation of Borders,” in Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor, 1-26 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013), 1-26
  • John Agnew, “Representing Space: Space, Scale and Culture in Social Science,” in Place/Culture/Representation, ed. James Duncan and David Ley (London: Routledge, 1993), 251-271
  • Tim Cresswell, “Towards a Politics of Mobility,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28, no. 1 (2010): 17-31





Interrogating current approaches:

(1) Naichi-Gaichi: what is illuminated and what is obscured?

  • Barbara Brooks, “Japanese Colonialism, Gender, and Household Registration: Legal Reconstruction of Boundaries,” in Gender and Law in the Japanese Imperium, ed. Susan L. Burns and Barbara J. Brooks, 219-239 (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2014)
  • Hiroko Matsuda, “Becoming Japanese in the Colony: Okinawan Migrants in Colonial Taiwan,” Cultural Studies 26 (2012): 688-709

(2) Networks, migrations, borders

  • Kate McDonald, “Asymmetrical Integration: Lessons from a Railway Empire,” Technology and Culture 56, no. 1 (2015): 115-49
  • Michael Kim, “Re-Conceptualizing the Boundaries of Empire: The Imperial Politics of Chinese Labor Migration to Manchuria and Colonial Korea,” Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies 16, no. 1 (2016): 1–24
  • Yŏm Sangsŏp, “On the Eve of the Uprising” (1924), in On the Eve of the Uprising and Other Stories from Colonial Korea, trans. Sunyoung Park with Jefferson J. A. Gatrall, 5-112 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010), 46-48




Work in progress

  • David Ambaras,“Treaty Ports and Body Parts: Child Trafficking, Territorialization, and the Spatial Imaginaries of Japan’s Engagement with the Sinosphere in the Age of Imperialism”

Friday, May 27 (Room 3009)


Key concepts (2): Imaginative geographies, spatial imaginaries, and spatial structures

  • Gary Fields, “Enclosure Landscapes: Historical Reflections on Palestinian Geography,” Historical Geography 39 (2011): 182–207
  • Josh Watkins, “Spatial Imaginaries Research in Geography: Synergies, Tensions, and New Directions,” Geography Compass 9, no. 9 (2015): 508–22
  • Doreen Massey, “A Global Sense of Place,” in Space, Place, and Gender, 146-156 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994)
  • Brenda S. A. Yeoh, “Historical Geographies of the Colonised World,” in Modern Historical Geographies, ed. Catherine Nash and B. J. Graham, 146-66 (London: Longman, 2000)




Interrogating current approaches:

(1) Imaginative geographies and spatial imaginaries

  • Paul Barclay, “Peddling Postcards and Selling Empire: Image-Making in Taiwan Under Japanese Colonial Rule,” Japanese Studies 30, no. 1 (2010): 81-110
  • Jordan Sand, “Imperial Tokyo as Contact Zone: The Metropolitan Tours of Taiwanese Aborigines, 1897-1941,” The Asia-Pacific Journal 12, issue 10, no. 4 (March 3, 2014)


Coda: Thinking about Japan/empire in Asian space(s)-time(s): A Conversation with Prasenjit Duara

  • Prasenjit Duara, “Asia Redux: Conceptualizing a Region for Our Times,” The Journal of Asian Studies 69, no. 4 (2010): 963–83


May 26, 2016
May 27, 2016


The Carolina Asia Center supports diverse Asia-related events. However, CAC co-sponsorship of any talk, seminar, documentary screening, film screening, performance or celebration does not constitute endorsement of or agreement with the views presented therein. As an academic institution, we value diverse perspectives that promote dialogue and understanding.

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