Mark Ravina - Professor of History, Emory University
Was Japan isolated in the eighteenth century? For decades historians have struggled to make sense of early modern Japanese foreign policy: did the Tokugawa shoguns cut-off Japan from the outside world, or was this a more nuanced policy of limiting select foreign contacts? This talk examines the case of Russia’s 1792 attempt to open trade with Japan. It reveals that the attempt foundered more problems of translation and political culture than on a Tokugawa aversion to trade with the West.
Mark Ravina (Ph.D. Stanford, 1991) is professor of history at Emory University. He has been a visiting professor at Kyoto University’s Institute for Research in the Humanities, and a research fellow at Keiō University and at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies. He has received research grants from the Fulbright Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the Academy of Korean Studies, and Association for Asian Studies. He is completing a study of the Meiji Restoration for Oxford University Press entitledJapan’s Nineteenth Century Revolution: A Transnational History of the Meiji Restoration. His first book, His first book, Land and Lordship in Early Modern Japan (Stanford, 1999), appeared in Japanese translation in 2004 from NTT shuppan. His second book, The Last Samurai, a biography of Saigō Takamori, has appeared in Russian, Polish and Chinese. He has also published on the history of science, Japanese economic thought, and Japanese popular culture.