Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

4 - Querying Women and Power in Premodern Japan

Saturday, July 7
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Amaltas, Lower Ground Floor

Surveying lineages of Japanese women and power, we should not imagine that the past replicates more recent eras, that is, the modern and postwar periods analyzed in Dr. Sheel's paper. This paper draws from thirty years of teaching and publishing Japanese women's history and from my current research project, a book surveying Japanese women's history from ancient times to the present using Japanese and English language sources. Like the panel, this paper aims to expand our thinking on women, gender, and power in Asia across a broad expanse of time and space by examining three aspects of women and power in Japan. First, it surveys trends in previous scholarship analyzing Japanese women and power. Second, belying Orientalist generalizing about Asian women's oppression and some historical descriptions minimizing the Japanese women's power in state and society and reflecting the growth and dynamism of Japanese women's history in recent years, the paper highlights selected aspects of women's power and influence in state, economy, religion, culture and family in an ancient, classical, and medieval Japan. Finally, it explores patterns and conceptual tools for analyzing Japanese and Asian women and power across the divide of premodern and modern eras.

Kathleen (Kathy) Uno

Temple University, United States

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