Book talk on "Defining Engagement: Japan and Global Contexts, 1640-1868"
Thu May 27th 2010, 4:15pm
Center for East Asian Studies
**NOTE NEW VENUE** Talk will now take place at Okimoto Conference Room, Encina Hall East, 3rd floor
Free and open to the public.
Speaker: CEAS JAPAN COLLOQUIUM Robert Hellyer Assistant Professor of History, Wake Forest University Hellyer's recently published book explores the internal dynamics and global contexts that shaped foreign relations in early modern Japan. Examining diplomacy, coastal defense, and especially foreign trade, it demonstrates that while the shogunate created the broader framework, foreign relations were implemented through cooperative but sometimes competitive relationships with the Satsuma and Tsushima domains. Successive Tokugawa leaders also proactively revised foreign trade, particularly with China, taking steps that mirrored the commercial stances of other Asian and Western states. Through its examination of the internal and the global, the book offers fresh insights on the evolution of Japan's foreign relations in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It also suggests new approaches to understanding Japan's transition from using early modern East Asian practices of foreign relations to the national adoption of international relations, especially the recasting of foreign trade and the centralization of foreign relations authority, in the years surrounding the Meiji Restoration of 1868. ABOUT THE SPEAKER / AUTHOR: A historian of early modern and modern Japan, Robert Hellyer served on the faculty of the University of Tokyo, taught at Allegheny College, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard before coming to Wake Forest in 2005. His book, Defining Engagement: Japan and Global Contexts, 1640-1868, was published by the Harvard University Asia Center in late 2009. He is currently working on a new project, Green Tea and the Path to an Industrial, International Japan, for which he received Smithsonian and Japan Foundation fellowships to support research in Washington, D.C. and Japan.
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