Dr. John Person
2012-2013 Postdoctoral Fellow; Assistant Professor, Japanese Studies, University at Albany
Dr. Person is a graduate of University of Chicago from the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilization, earning his PhD in 2012. John’s dissertation entitled, “Philosophizing ‘Japan’: the Genri Nippon Society and the Question of Japaneseness” investigates the often-overlooked confluences between “rightwing” thought and power within the intellectual, activist, and academic communities. Focusing primarily on the activist and polemicist Minoda Muneki whose sway in political and power circles of the interwar years transgressed boundaries of academism and intellectual circles. By problematizing certain dichotomies of rightwing or leftwing, fascist or liberal, John’s research reveals the lack of this terminology to grasp the diverse and searching issues at play for a more nuanced understanding of what exactly were the points of reference for political philosophy and democracy during the 1930s and 40s.
At UCLA, Dr. Person expanded his research on Minoda into a wider discussion of theoretical issues related to worldwide nationalisms. Particularly, by starting from the endpoint of his dissertation where traditional theoretical dichotomies broke down in his examination of what separates and ideologue from ideology, the hope is to incorporate this expanded scope of research into a book manuscript. Dr. Person gave a colloquium entitled "On Ideology and Ideologues: the Issue of “Japanism” in the Study of Wartime Japan," and taught a course about Japanese intellectual history particularly focused around changing understandings and applications of democracy.