This semester we will have two special guests visiting our campus and presenting their research in the History Workshop. Both talks will be held on a Friday afternoon from 2:30-4:00pm in Sakamaki Hall A201. The presentations will be followed by a reception with light refreshments in the History Department Library.
FEBRUARY 15, 2019
The Changing Face of Labor between Japan, Hawai‘i, and Colonial Taiwan
Lecturer: Professor Martin Dusinberre, University of Zurich
This paper examines one of the most iconic images of the first Japanese sugar laborers to Hawai‘i, painted by Joseph D. Strong in 1885. Now preserved in a private collection in Tokyo, the painting is a window into the world of transplanted lives in the late- nineteenth century, in particular the way these laborers became a contested site of imagination for different constituencies catering to their arrival—the Japanese government, the Hawaiian king, the sugar plantation owners, and the local press. Moreover, Strong’s work points to the complex layering of historical memory across the traditional historiographical divide of “Asia” and “the Pacific” in the early-twentieth century: the painting’s meanings changed between its departure from Honolulu and its arrival in Yokohama, and changed once again after it was bequeathed to the Taiwan Sugar Company in the mid-1920s. Taking the painting’s frame as a metaphor, the paper examines how the history of Japanese emigration to Hawai‘i was framed at the turn of the twentieth-century, and by whom. Who has painted this history, we might ask, and to what purpose?
Martin Dusinberre is Professor and Chair for Global History at the University of Zurich. His research focuses on Japan and the Pacific world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in particular the history of Japanese imperialism, overseas migration and maritime trade. His first book, Hard Times in the Hometown: A History of Community Survival in Modern Japan (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2012) was a microhistory of a Japanese nuclear village. He is currently completing a book about global history methodologies, inspired by the story of a nineteenth-century Japanese steamship. He is also leading a serious gaming project in digital history, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. His essays have appeared in The Journal of Global History, The Journal of Asian Studies, History Workshop Journal, Historische Anthropologie and The Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History.
APRIL 5, 2019
Dumpster Diving an Archive Box: Cases concerning the Bakers Guild, Copenhagen 1714-1800
Lecturer: Professor Carol Gold, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Generally, when we do research, we start with questions and look for answers. I have turned this process on its head and started with answers—a somewhat randomly chosen box from the Copenhagen City Archives—and looked for questions. The box contains items sent from the Bakers Guild to the Copenhagen city authorities during the eighteenth century. What stories are hidden in the box?
Christian Lentz’ bakery burnt down in 1749. He applied for permission to build a new bakery in a different location, but then could not raise the funds to do so. Journeyman baker Christian Jager got engaged to baker Rasmussen’s widow and now wanted to bake a “masterpiece” in order to gain admission to the guild. There was on-going tension between the bakers and the millers. The bakers accused the millers of favoring the distillers’ grain over the bakers’, which thus sat for days and grew moldy before it was ground. Every six months the city of Copenhagen established the size of bread loaves to be sold for one or two skilling. Equally regularly the bakers complained that they could not make any money at the official prices.
This project is as much about the process of how we do historical research as it is about the content of that research, fascinating as those stories are.