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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Zoom [Registration link below]
Event date: 
Monday, 12 October, 2020 - 18:00 to 19:30



Modern Memories: The public history of industrial heritage in Japan. 

The terms “industrial heritage” and “public history” did not come into widespread use until the 1990s in Japan. But even in the 1960s, some key sites of Japan’s industrial revolution were shutting down.  What does one do with an abandoned mine or factory? For many decades, people in Japan have been asking this question, and engaging in efforts to preserve, commemorate, and invite visitors to these sites. Most recently, in 2015, UNESCO granted World Heritage status to the sites of the Meiji Era Industrial Revolution. Modern industrial civilization has brought great benefits and imposed high costs, in Japan as around the world. I will examine the possibilities for presenting a public history of industrial heritage that takes account of the burdens of this past as well the achievements.

Andrew Gordon is Professor of History at Harvard University. He has been engaged in the studies of the modern history of Japan throughout his career, focused in particular on the history of labor and the history of modern consumer society.  Major publications include The Evolution of Labor Relations in Japan, Labor and Imperial Democracy in Japan, The Wages of Affluence, and Fabricating Consumers: The Sewing Machine in Modern Japan.  He has served as Director of the Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies at Harvard University as Chair of Harvard’s Department of History.  In 2014 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.