- JF-GJS Initiative
JF-GJS Fellow Talk Series 1
All I Really Need to Know about Japan Studies I Learned at a Strange Japanese Restaurant in Texas: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things in Academia
|Date and Time||July 12 (Wed) 2023, 10:00 AM ~ 12:00 PM (JST)|
- On-site: Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo
- Online (Zoom)
|Title||All I Really Need to Know about Japan Studies I Learned at a Strange Japanese Restaurant in Texas: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things in Academia|
|Speaker||Sachi Schmit-Hori, Associate Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture at Dartmouth College|
|Discussant||Junnan Chen, JF-GJS Fellow, Princeton University|
|Chair||Junnan Chen, JF-GJS Fellow, Princeton University|
This event will be held both online (Zoom) and in-person. Please register to the link below for participation: https://princeton.zoom.us/meeting/register/ tJckduyvqzwjHN0WmP95iT6Ty3eqDGmmiiDb
“Having immigrated from Japan to the United States in my 20s with limited English proficiency and little money, I quickly learned to play up to my youthful femininity and my FOB-Japaneseness. From 1997 to 1999, I worked as a kimono-donning waitress at a high-end Japanese restaurant in Dallas, TX, alongside my fellow waitresses immigrated from Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, male Japanese sushi chefs on H1-B visa, and male kitchen staff from Mexico. As I look back on this multi- cultural, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic space, covered with Orientalistic décor and filled with earnest desire to be validated by the “real American” customers, this was the beginning of my long and winding road to becoming a scholar of Japan Studies.
In this talk, I would like to share my thoughts on “transnational/global perspective” to Japan Studies. This will begin with the questions of what “transnational/global perspective” means to me and whether Japan Studies indeed hopes to bring it to the field. This will be followed by discussing some of the challenges I experience as a researcher of gender and sexuality in premodern Japan as well as instructor of Japanese literature and culture courses in the United States, which are connected to what makes it difficult for Japan Studies to acquire transnational/global perspective. I will then talk about “interculture,” as opposed to the binary of “localization vs. foreignization,” in the global commercial and artistic spheres. Without assuming a simple cause-and-effect trajectory, I will explain why “interculture” will likely contribute to bringing more transnational/global perspective to Japan Studies in the near future.”
On July 12th, 2023, Sachi-Schmidt Hori, Associate Professor of Literature and Culture at Dartmouth University, gave a lecture at the Institute of Advanced Studies on Asia. Her talk, titled “Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things in Academia: All I Really Need to Know about Japan Studies I Learned at a Strange Japanese Restaurant” centers on the dilemma of “Japan Studies form a global perspective.” From her personal experience when she first immigrated to the United States in the 90s, Professor Schmidt-Hori addresses the persisting hierarchy in knowledge production when it comes to Japan Studies as an academic discipline. Aside from the critique of the history of Area Studies, that is entangled with colonialism, Cold War, and imperialist ideology, Schmidt-Hori turns to the more insidious aspects of euro-centrism that is unavoidably impacting knowledge production on every aspect in the globalizing world today. The talk is also a prelude to the bi-lingual essay collection Why Study Japan?, which will come out in August. As the editor of the volume, Professor Schmidt-Hori raises a set of questions and challenges that are faced by Japan Studies researchers in academia. The goal of the volume and the talk is to open the uneasy conversation on Japan Studies as a discipline, its limits and boundaries, in order to excavate the potential of “intercultural” together with scholars and researchers around the world.
|Organizer:||JF-GJS Fellows, JF-GJS Initiative/Global Asian Studies(GAS)|