Call for Papers: Travel and Landscape in Japanese Literature, Art, and Culture

Travel is Life, Travel is Home: Representing Travel and Landscape in Japanese Literature, Art, and Culture

April 4-6, 2019

University of Iowa, Iowa City IA

Deadline for proposals: December 10, 2018

Keynote: Meredith McKinney, visiting fellow at the Japan Center, Australian National University

In the introduction to his seventeenth-century travel diary, The Narrow Road of the Interior, Matsuo Bashō declares, in Helen McCullough’s translation, that “travel is life, travel is home.”  While the use of travel as a metaphor to express the transience of life was centuries old by Bashō’s time, the idea continues to resonate even today. The awareness of one’s environment as both the basis for and product of human experience has shaped representations of travel and landscape throughout Japanese cultural production, from Saigyō’s twelfth-century travel poetry, to Natsume Sōseki’s 1906 Kusamakura and beyond.


The interaction between humans and their environments is increasingly conceptualized in terms of mobile bodies, from observations of space as both “a product of interrelations” and a sphere of “contemporaneous plurality” (Doreen Massey 2005); to place as “the surveyor’s active involvement with the landscape” (Jeff Malpas 2009); to the paradox of “cosmopolitanisms” that simultaneously resists a stable permanent residence while adopting a plural understanding of places of origin (Robbins and Horta 2017). Instances of travel in all of its forms—for pilgrimage, official duties, tourism, military strategy, emigration, or evacuation, exile, and refuge—posit a body that moves through its environments, rather than existing as a static object. Even in the case of virtual or imagined travel, there is an emphasis on movement across space and through a succession of multiple places. Such instances of travel, represented and explored through literature, art, and performance, allow for an analysis of the ways in which humans not only conceptualize and interact with, but indeed move through their environments.


The University of Iowa Japanese Program, Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, and International Programs, with generous support from the Japan Foundation, seek papers addressing this conference’s broad themes, focusing on any period of Japanese cultural production. We are especially interested in papers that explore the themes of landscape, space, place, and travel as they are represented in literature, art, film, performance, religious history, and intellectual history or that engage relevant representations using media beyond the written word.


Please submit proposals, including name, affiliation, a paper title, and an abstract of no longer than 300 words for a 15- to 20-minute paper presentation, by December 10, 2018. Registration is free. Some funding will be available to defray travel expenses for participants.


Suggested Topics:

Travel within, through, outside of, or to Japan

Tourism and famous places

Pilgrimage, wandering, and reclusion

Official travel, exile, or statelessness

Nomadic or migrant patterns

Landscape and gender, sexuality, or the body

Virtual, imagined, or simulated travel

State or religious ideology and landscape

Authenticity, experience, and representation of landscape

Relationships between space and time

Ecological observations and processes

Impacts of technology or infrastructure upon travel practices

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Funding: 20th Century Japan Research Awards for 2018-2019

20th Century Japan Research Awards for 2018-2019

The Nathan and Jeanette Miller Center for Historical Studies and the University of Maryland Libraries invite applications for two $1,500 grants to support research in the library’s Gordon W. Prange Collection and East Asia Collection on topics related to the period of the Allied Occupation of Japan and its aftermath, 1945-1960. Holders of a Ph.D. or an equivalent degree are eligible to apply, as are graduate students who have completed all requirements for the doctorate except the dissertation. The competition is open to scholars in all parts of the world and from any discipline, but historical topics are preferred. University of Maryland faculty, staff, and students may not apply. More information can be found on the Prange Collection website.

The application deadline is December 7, 2018.  The grant must be used by December 14, 2019. Grant funds will be disbursed in the form of reimbursement for travel, lodging, meals, reproductions, and related research expenses. Such costs as computers or software are not eligible. NOTE TO NON-U.S. CITIZENS:  approximately 30% of the total award may be withheld for tax purposes, depending upon the recipient’s country of origin. The withholding may be reimbursed to the recipient after filing a tax form with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

All applications must be submitted electronically by attachment to with “Twentieth-Century Japan Research Awards” in the subject line. Applications must include a curriculum vitae and a two-to three-page description (double-spaced) of the research project. Applications from graduate students must be accompanied by a letter from the principal faculty advisor attesting to the significance of the dissertation project and to the student’s completion of all other degree requirements.

Materials in the Gordon W. Prange Collection include virtually all Japanese-language newspapers, news agency releases, magazines, pamphlets, and books dating from the period of Allied censorship, 1945-1949, in addition to over 10,000 newspaper photos.  There are also materials published by Chinese and Korean residents, most of which are written in Japanese.  Related collections in English include the personal papers of Charles Kades and Justin Williams.  Office correspondence documenting policies and decisions of the Publications, Pictorial, and Broadcast Division, Civil Censorship Detachment (Civil Intelligence Section), Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers Japan, are complementary to official Occupation records housed at the National Archives, College Park.  Japanese newspapers and magazines from the Prange Collection are available for research on microform.  The East Asia Collection contains Japanese-language books published during the wartime period, scholarly monographs on Occupied Japan, and a wide variety of reference works.

During the campus visit, the award recipient will give an informal talk on her/his research.  At the conclusion of the visit, the recipient will submit a blog post reflecting on her/his research experience that will appear on Prange Collection social media sites. Reimbursements will be made after the blog post has been submitted to the Prange Collection staff.

For further information about the collections, consult the following websites: http:/ and

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Job Opening: Assistant Professor, Asian History, University of Manitoba

The Department of History at the University of Manitoba invites applications for a full-time tenure-track appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor in Asian History. Applications are invited from specialists in any region, period or scholarly specialization, excluding sole focus on Modern China. The person appointed would be able to teach thematic and/or nation-based courses in Asian history in her/his/their area of specialization at the undergraduate and graduate level. The successful candidate must also have a demonstrated willingness and ability to teach introductory courses. Teaching responsibilities will include introductory level courses in Asian Civilization, as well as the possibility of introductory courses in World History.

Preference will be for a scholar whose research intersects with existing and emerging areas of strength in the Department, Faculty, and University including: migration and ethnicity; citizenship; comparative indigenous studies; comparative colonialism and postcolonial histories; human rights, social justice and labour histories; gender and sexuality; culture, communication, and material culture; and/or nature and the environment.

For details, see

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Job Opening: Assistant Professor of Modern Japanese History

The Department of History, University of British Columbia (Vancouver) invites applications for a tenure-track appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor in Modern Japanese History. Open to all specializations, we are particularly interested in candidates who place Japan in broader regional contexts and whose work complements or expands existing strengths in the Department. Expected start date is July 1, 2019.

The successful candidate will show outstanding potential as an innovative scholar and researcher, as evidenced by their record of intellectual engagement, published work, and/or work in progress. A strong commitment to teaching excellence at both the graduate and undergraduate level is also required. The successful candidate would be expected to offer courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level within their area of specialization, as well as teaching lower division surveys. Candidates are expected to have a Ph.D. in hand by July 1, 2019.

Applicants should apply only through the UBC faculty careers website, Applicants should upload (in the following order, and not exceeding 12 megabytes per attachment): a cover letter or letter of application, a curriculum vitae, up to three article-length samples of scholarship (including published articles, unpublished papers, or book/dissertation chapters), a sample syllabus for an advanced undergraduate or graduate course on a relevant topic, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and a one-page statement identifying the applicant’s contributions, or potential contributions, to diversity, along with their ability to work with a culturally international student body.

Applicants should also arrange to have three signed and confidential letters of reference sent by email to Ms. Janet Mui,, or by mail to: Ms. Janet Mui, Modern Japanese History Search, Department of History, University of British Columbia, 1297-1873 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, CANADA. All materials should be received by December 6, 2018. Applicants with questions about the position are welcome to contact the search chair, Dr. Timothy Cheek, by email at
This position is subject to final budgetary approval. Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Métis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.


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Job Opening: Japanese Language and Culture

The Department of French and Asian Studies at Huron University College invites applications for a full-time probationary (tenure-track) appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor, commencing 1 July, 2019, subject to final budgetary approval. The successful applicant is expected to teach a Japanese language course, as well as to design and teach courses dealing with aspects of Japanese culture.

Candidates for the position will have native- or near native- command in both Japanese and English, with recent teaching experience at the post-secondary level in Canada or the United States and a proven record of academic publication. Candidates should also have a clear and verifiable record of success in teaching university level courses in both languages. We are particularly interested in candidates with a passion for undergraduate teaching, program development, including faculty-student joint research and other experiential approaches for undergraduate education, and a commitment to teaching a diverse student body. The successful applicant will also participate in the administrative life of the department and university.



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Book Announcement: Electrified Voices: How the Telephone, Phonograph, and Radio Shaped Modern Japan, 1868–1945

Electrified Voices
How the Telephone, Phonograph, and Radio Shaped Modern Japan, 1868–1945

Kerim Yasar

Long before karaoke’s ubiquity and the rise of global brands such as Sony, Japan was a place where new audio technologies found eager users and contributed to new cultural forms. In Electrified Voices, Kerim Yasar traces the origins of the modern soundscape, showing how the revolutionary nature of sound technology and the rise of a new auditory culture played an essential role in the formation of Japanese modernity.

A far-reaching cultural history of the telegraph, telephone, phonograph, radio, and early sound film in Japan, Electrified Voices shows how these technologies reshaped the production of culture. Audio technologies upended the status of the written word as the only source of prestige while revivifying traditional forms of orality. The ability to reproduce and transmit sound, freeing it from the constraints of time and space, had profound consequences on late nineteenth-century language reform; twentieth-century literary, musical, and cinematic practices; the rise of militarism and nationalism in the 1920s and 30s; and the transition to the postwar period inaugurated by Emperor Hirohito’s declaration of unconditional surrender to Allied forces—a declaration that was recorded on a gramophone record and broadcast throughout the defeated Japanese empire. The first cultural history in English of auditory technologies in modern Japan, Electrified Voices enriches our understanding of Japanese modernity and offers a major contribution to sound studies and global media history.

List of Illustrations
Note on Names
Introduction: All That Is Solid Melts Into Sound
1. Vocal Cords and Telephone Wires: Orality in Japan, Old and New
2. Sound and Sentiment
3. The Grain in the Groove: Inscribed Voices, Echoed Temporalities
4. Imagining the Wireless Community
5. Ghostlier Demarcations, Keener Sounds: Early Japanese Radio Drama
6. Sound and Motion

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Job Opening: Assistant Professor, East Asian History, College of Charleston

Institution: College of Charleston
Location: South Carolina, United States
Position: Assistant Professor

The Department of History of the College of Charleston invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professorship in the field of East Asian History. Applicants who study China or Japan are especially welcome, but any subfield will be considered.  Candidates must have completed all requirements for a Ph.D. in East Asian History or Asian Studies with a strong emphasis in History by August 2019.  In addition to upper-level and graduate courses in Asian History, the ability to teach survey courses in the general education curriculum in pre-modern and/or modern history is essential.

The successful candidate will work closely with the Department of History graduate program and have the opportunity to affiliate with the Asian Studies Program and other interdisciplinary programs on campus.

Candidates must have a firm commitment to undergraduate teaching in a liberal arts and sciences environment. Promise of excellence in teaching and research are required; teaching experience and publications are preferred.  Initial interviews of selected applicants will be conducted via Skype.

Founded in 1770, the College is among the nation’s top universities for quality education, student life, and affordability, and is a nationally recognized public liberal arts and sciences university. Its beautiful and historic campus, located in the heart of historic Charleston, SC, combined with contemporary facilities and cutting-edge programs, attracts students from across the U.S. and around the world.

The College of Charleston is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any individual or group on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, race, color, religion, national origin, veteran status, genetic information, or disability.  More information about the College of Charleston can be obtained from and about the History Department at

Applications should include a cover letter, C.V., graduate transcripts, names and contact information for at least three references, a writing sample, and representative teaching materials.  Direct materials to: by November 25, 2018 for full consideration.

Contact:Dr. Rich Bodek, Chair, Asia Search Committee


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