May 22-23, 2003 – Harry Harootunian: Lecture & Seminar

The Execution of Tosaka Jun and Other Stories: Forgetting History, Returning to Memory, and the Status of Japan’s Postwar

Thursday, May 22

4 PM, Oakes Mural Room

Shadowing History: National Narratives and the Persistence of the Everyday
Friday, May 23
10 AM, Oakes Mural Room

Readings are available in advance. For campus mailing of the readings,
please contact Stephanie Casher at

Harry Harootunian is Professor of History and Director of the East Asian Studies Program at New York University. He has also taught at the University of Rochester and the University of Chicago, and was Dean of Humanities at UC Santa Cruz. Former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Asian Studies, he is currently a co-editor of Critical Inquiry and a member of the editorial board of Hihyo Kukan, an intellectual and opinion journal published in Tokyo. Among Harootunian’s books is History’s Disquiet: Modernity, Cultural Practice and the Question of Everyday Life (Columbia, 2000).

In his recent book Overcome By Modernity: Commodity Form, Culture and Community in Interwar Japan (Princeton, 2000), Harootunian explores how Japanese writers and thinkers, faced by capitalist modernization, tried to find an authentic and stable grounding for a daily life which seemed to be always escaping, and a culture that might resist both social abstraction (reification) and the surplus of historical change. He writes that the book “is an attempt to historicize modernism (rarely done in the literature) by relating it to capitalist modernization and the problem of uneven development. It is my hope to show that an understanding of modernism from the so-called periphery will reveal something about the claims made for it at the center and its informing ideology of even development.”