2010-2011 Terasaki Chair in U.S.-Japan Relations; Professor, Department of History, University of California, San Diego
Stefan Tanaka, author of New Times in Modern Japan and Japan’s Orient: Rendering Pasts Into History joined the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies and UCLA’s history department in 2010–11, as the seventh Terasaki Chair in U.S.-Japan Relations. He taught a graduate seminar on “The Idea of Japan” (History 201M) and a course will examine modern communication technologies' effects on ways of knowing.
The subject of digital media and history is still a relatively new focus for scholarship. Tanaka works in this area both as a historian asking how various media can change views of the past, and as kind of historical curator of digital materials. His recent publications include “Digital Media in History: Remediating Data and Narratives” and an on-going research project titled “1884.” This digital project presents Japanese histories, stories, and other audio recordings to paint a collective picture of a single year. Tanaka is also preoccupied with the challenges of storing data digitally. Currently available means of accessing data might, in themselves, be the very archival material that future historians will need to tell the history of our generation. So, how are not only today's historical archives but also today's media being preserved?
Tanaka addressed some of these issues in a talk he delivered at UCLA on entitled "Pasts in a Digital Age," it was the keynote address for the conference "Performing Politics in Japan and Modern East Asia," an event sponsored by the Japanese Arts and Globalizations multi-campus research group with support from the Terasaki Center.