Workshop: “Built Japan: Environment, City, and Empire”

View of Ginza Main Street, looking north towards 3-chōme and 4-chōme, circa 1895, from atop the Hattori Clock Tower.  Note the Kyōya Clock Co. Ginza clock tower and the Iwaya Shōkai tobacco store on the right.  Image courtesy the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, James Davidson collection, Rooftop view of city (a033342).


“Built Japan: Environment, City, and Empire” provides the first extended application of the spatial history methodology to the study of modern Japanese history. Scholars of Japanese urbanism, architecture, and geography will gather in February 2018 to survey how attention to the built forms and spaces of the Japanese empire – its architecture, materials, and natural and built environments – can lead to new historical understandings.

Location: Institute of Asian Research (CK Choi Building) Room 351
Dates: Friday, February 9, 2018-Saturday, February 10, 2018
Times: 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM

Public Keynote Lecture:

Date: February 9, 2018
Time: 4:00-5:30 PM
Location: IK Barber Lillooet Room
Dr. Shunya Yoshimi (University of Tokyo)

See below for the workshop schedule and list of paper topics and lead discussants:

Paper topics and lead discussants:

  • Dr. Radu Leca (University of Leiden), “Pointing at the Globe: Materializing the Spatial Imaginary of the Earth in early Meiji Period Japan”
– Lead Discussant: Dr. David Edgington (UBC)

“Pebbles of Progress: Macadam Streets and Material Civilization in Early Meiji Tokyo”

– Lead Discussant: Dr. Ian Miller (Harvard University)
  • Dr. Roderick Wilson (University of Illinois), “The Techno-politics of Reframing the Rivers of Japan, 1890-1910”
– Lead Discussant: Dr. Mari Fujita (UBC)
– Lead Discussant: Dr. Kate McDonald (University of California-Santa Barbara)
  • Joel Legassie (University of Victoria), “Naming Hokkaido: Exchanges of Cartographic and Indigenous Knowledge, 1700-1900”
– Lead Discussant: Dr. Julian Dierkes (UBC)
  • Dr. Holly Stephens (Yale University), “The Roots of a New Countryside: Cotton, Capital, and Colonialism in Southern Korea, 1910-1945”
– Lead Discussant: Dr. Hyung Gu Lynn (UBC)
  • Yuting Dong (Harvard University), “Cement and Red Brick: How the Empire built in Manchuria”
– Lead Discussant: Dr. William Sewell (St. Mary’s University)


Contact convenor Tristan Grunow for more information or if you would like to attend the workshop.