Thomas Conlan - Professor of History and Asian Studies, Bowdoin College
The Ōuchi, a warrior family claiming to be descended from Korean kings, came to dominate Japan during the Muromachi age. Administratively skilled, they created a trading network with the continent, and protected their interests with formidable force. Cultural patronage and elaborate rituals, focusing on star worship, served to legitimate their authority, but an attempt to move the capital precipitated their collapse.
Thomas D. Conlan, Professor of Japanese History at Bowdoin College, graduated from the University of Michigan (BA) and Stanford University (MA, PhD). He has taught at Bowdoin College since 1998, and has also lived in Sendai and studied at Kyoto University. The author of four monographs, his most recent publication (From Sovereign to Symbol: An Age of Ritual Determinism in Fourteenth Century Japan (Oxford University Press, 2011), explores the role of Shingon Buddhism in determining political legitimacy.