December 13, 2023 | 6:00-7:30 PM EST | REGISTER FOR ZOOM
Japan's Ocean Borderlands: Nature and Sovereignty (Cambridge University Press, 2023)
Author: Paul Kreitman, Assistant Professor of History, Columbia University
Discussant: Miriam Kingsberg Kadia, Professor of History, University of Colorado, Boulder
The Modern Japan History Association invites the wider community to a conversation with Paul Kreitman (Assistant Professor of History, Columbia University). Professor Kreitman will be speaking about his new book, Japan's Ocean Borderlands: Nature and Sovereignty (Cambridge University Press, 2023). Japan's Ocean Borderlands reveals how the politics of conservation have entangled with the politics of sovereignty since the emergence of the modern Japanese state in the mid-nineteenth century. Using case studies ranging from Hawai'i to the Bonin Islands to the Senkaku (Ch: Diaoyu) Isles to the South China Sea, he explores how bird islands on the distant margins of the Japanese archipelago and beyond transformed from sites of resource extraction to outposts of empire and from wartime battlegrounds to nature reserves. This study examines how interactions between birds, bird products, bureaucrats, speculators, sailors, soldiers, scientists and conservationists shaped ongoing claims to sovereignty over oceanic spaces. It considers what the history of desert islands shows us about imperial and post-imperial power, the web of political, economic and ecological connections between islands and oceans, and about the relationship between sovereignty, territory and environment in the modern world. Miriam Kingsburg Kadia (Professor of History, University of Colorado, Boulder) will serve as discussant.
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