The 43rd GJS SeminarGeopolitics as s Traveling Theory: The Evolution of Geopolitical Imagination in Japan, 1925-1945

Date and time: October 16, 2017 (Mon.), 5:00-6:00PM
Venue: First Meeting Room (3F), Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo
Speaker: Atsuko Watanabe (Associate Fellow, The Centre for the Study of Regionalisation and Globalisation, the University of Warwick)
Language: English and Japanese

Abstract: Classical geopolitics is the theory that was originally developed in the late nineteenth century Europe and disseminated some parts of the world including wartime Japan. Japanese geopolitics has been an abandoned field of study due to its anathematic past, despite its significance in wartime intellectual life. Meanwhile, Europe’s role in disseminating knowledge globally to shape the world according to its standards is an unchallenged premise in world politics. Its utmost example is the concept of the state, by which the world is assumed to be divided into bounded territories. The present study challenges this ground by taking interdisciplinary approaches in which contributions of academic literature in the West and studies of intellectual history in Japan are carefully bridged. It shows how political theory as text travels inter-regionally by interrogating the way how Japan imported classical geopolitics as the theory of the modern state however to explain regional developments in the second quarter of the twentieth century. It demonstrates that the same theory can invoke diverged imaginations. It is, therefore, a study that focuses on the transformation of power, knowledge and subjectivity in time and space.

Organizer: The Global Japan Studies Network (GJS)
Co-organizer: Institute for Advanced Studeis on Asia (IASA)
Contact: gjs[at]