February 27, 2015/ 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

USC, East Asian Seminar Room (110C) Doheny Memorial Library CA

Worlds in Boxes and on Paper: What We Can Learn About Tokugawa Households from their Lists of Possessions."

The USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture is pleased to present an upcoming talk by Professor Amy Stanley, entitled “Worlds in Boxes and on Paper: What We Can Learn About Tokugawa Households from their Lists of Possessions."

When: Friday, February 27, 2015
Time: 4PM-5:30PM
Where: USC, East Asian Seminar Room (110C), Doheny Memorial Library


About the Talk
In the late Tokugawa period, ordinary people began to amass significant wardrobes of silk crepe and patterned cotton, and clothing became important as both a marker of social status and a medium of exchange. A “good” robe could be worn around town, establishing the refinement or respectability of its owner, but it could also be exchanged for cash at a pawnshop or cut up and refashioned into some other useful item. This talk analyzes the competing meanings and values that members of one household attached to a daughter’s wardrobe, which debuted as a trousseau in a snow country village, spent a period in hock in the castle town, and ended up worn to pieces in Edo. It suggests that investing in fashionable clothing had unintended consequences: it put socially important and economically valuable resources in the hands of young women, whose ideas about consumption, respectability, and family obligation were not always the same as their elders’.

Amy Stanley (Ph.D. Harvard, 2007) specializes in the history of early modern and modern Japan, with a particular interest in how common people contributed to Japan’s economic, political, and social transformation in the mid-nineteenth century. Her first book, Selling Women: Prostitution, Markets, and the Household in Early Modern Japan (University of California Press, 2012), explained how the growing business of selling sex reconfigured women’s places in the household, the marketplace, and the Tokugawa state. Professor Stanley has also written articles on education for geisha in the 1870’s and on early modern peasants’ practices of settling adultery cases. Her new project investigates a Japanese woman’s experience of urban migration, service work, and social mobility in the context of global early modernity. A recipient of the WCAS Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2012, she offers lecture courses on pre-20th century Japan and seminars on various aspects of women’s/gender history, Asian history, and archival research.


USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture213-821-4365