Contending with the Modern West: Japanese and Yiddish Satires in the Era of High Imperialism, Aug. 30, 2022 (Tuesday)

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August 30, 2022
Hawaii, United States
Subject Fields: 
Japanese History / Studies, Jewish History / Studies, Asian History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Literature

Contending with the Modern West:  Japanese and Yiddish Satires in the Era of High Imperialism

by Dr. David Gordon, Prof. of Asian History at Shepherd University (UHM alumni, PhD in History, 1997)

Date/Time:  August 30, 2022 (Tuesday), 12 noon (HST)

Format:  Hybrid, in person (UHM campus, Moore Hall 258) and via Zoom Webinar (registration required)

Register in advance for the webinar:

Abstract:  In the later 19th century, many Japanese and East European Jews, respectively, perceived their polities to be under threat from Western governments, even as some also found hope in humanitarian idealism. To understand this mixed atmosphere, we will examine two satirical works: Japanese democratic activist Nakae Chomin's A Discourse by Three Drunkards on Government (1887) and classic Yiddish novelist Sholem Abramovitch's The Mare (1873). Each story features an idealist figure--in some measure, the author's younger self--who is assailed by a realist and a cynic, respectively, for his naivete.  Reflecting contrastive trajectories, the Japanese novel inclines to comedy, while the Yiddish one inclines to tragedy.

Lecture co-sponsored with the UHM Department of History

This seminar is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Gay Satsuma, Associate Director, Center for Japanese Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

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