March 3, 2014/ 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

UCLA Royce Hall, Room 306

The Feudal Sublime: On the Politics of Modern Japanese Historiography

Lecture by Professor Gavin Walker, McGill University

The debate on Japanese capitalism (Nihon shihonshugi ronsō), perhaps the single most decisive site of contestation over the political and theoretical evaluation of the formation of modern Japanese capitalist society, has been revisited in diverse situations in recent years. But the essence of this debate remains undetermined: is it merely a debate on the local or national factors of development in a given situation? Or simply a scholastic expression of political allegiances and their justification? In the final instance, what is at stake for us in this debate? There are four main points on which the debate on Japanese capitalism concretizes in its form certain theoretical possibilities, possibilities that we will try to expand upon in this talk: 1) the analysis of the temporality of world capitalism and an accompanying rethinking of the period of primitive accumulation; 2) the relation between the production of subjectivity and the historical production of labor power as a commodity; 3) possibilities for the rethinking of the national question in Marx and Marxist thought and the rereading of nationalism in postwar Japanese thought in light of the above points; 4) the possibility of interventions in postcolonial studies, and particularly in relation to conceptions of “alternative modernity” in historiographical theory.

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Suggested Parking Lot 5 Parking Pass $12.00


Sponsor(s): Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies