“Power and Identity”: A Cross-Disciplinary Conference

I am happy to announce that the Graduate Program on Global Society, the University of Tokyo, holds its first international conference on the theme of “Power and Identity” in January, 2017. My friend from the program, Jun Nohara and I organize the conference. Below is the conference’s call for papers information. For more details, please visit our webpage in the following link: gspconference2017.

International Conference

“Power and Identity”

The Graduate Program on Global Society (GSP), the University of Tokyo

 Abstract Submission Deadline: September 30, 2016

Abstract Submission: gspconference2017@gmail.com

Monday 9 January, 2017

The Graduate Program on Global Society (GSP), the University of Tokyo, hosts an international conference to explore various issues of power and identity from interdisciplinary perspectives. In today’s globalized world, it is increasingly urgent to examine the way in which power and identity are interrelated with each other, not only politically and economically, but also culturally and ideologically. Both personal and national identities have become more and more unsettled, inscrutable, and even questionable. And yet certain power continues to operate in various dimensions of our life, shaping, disturbing, and refashioning our identities. In the field of international politics, in our mundane social life, and on the discursive level, even in the realm of fiction, the interaction between power and identity continuously serves as a crucial determinant of boundaries, alliances, communication manners, and styles of discourse.

How can individuals approach issues of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, language, religion and fashion in terms of social and political norms? What are the ways in which regional and global matters, such as security and threat, peace and war, sovereignty or memory, contribute to or are affected by power and identity? Can commerce and media provide us with any solution to these issues? How does literature address the issues of power and identity?

The GSP conference “Power and Identity” calls for papers, which investigate into and elucidate any aspect of the complicated interrelation between power and identity. Possible themes are listed below, but papers are not limited to them:

Possible Themes:
Globalization and Identity
Cultural Interactions and Power
Identity and Power in International Relations
Peace and Identity
Security and Power
State, Power, and National Identity
Memory and Identity
Immigration, Identity, and State Control
Religion, State, and Power
Religion, Identity, and Conflicts
Gender, Identity, and State Power
Women, Identity, and Literature
Rhetoric and Power
Language, Identity, and Power
Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality
Fashion and Identity
Media and Power
Power and City in Literature
Memory, Identity, and Power in Literature
Power and Identity in Postcolonial Literature
Contemporary Society, Power Relations, and Literature

Plenary Lectures
Professor Daisaku HIGASHI, Sophia University, Japan
Professor Crispin Bates, Edinburgh University, Scotland

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The Notion of Maternity during the Lost Decade of Japan through Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

As the winter vacation is coming to an end, I am leaving three hectic months behind with a need for some rest. Busy schedule that started with the job hunting process and full of lots of paperwork and bureaucracy has ended on the most beautiful note with this paper coming into existence despite all the odds against it! The moment I saw my laptop showered with coffee at Starbucks today, I had a little bit of a heart attack. However, it is safely here! 🙂  It still has a way to go, and I need to improve it, but it will help me go through the upcoming conference 🙂

In “The Unfinished Cartography: Murakami Haruki and the Postmodern Cognitive Map,” Chiyoko Kawakami untangles the gap between Murakami and the postwar junbungaku not so much in view of Murakami’s reluctance to adopt a critical stance on the Japanese social scene. Alternately, she deciphers the long-debated polarity in respect of non-representational form of power being portrayed in Murakami’s works in contrast to “the discursive practice of social struggle” prevailing in postwar junbungaku: “Murakami depicts the problematic and incompletely conceptualized relationships between the individual and society in the radically changing social climates of postmodern Japan, where “authority” has ceased to present itself as a unified ideological entity” (310).

Following Kawakami’s viewpoint, I argue that Jean Baudrillard’s theory of consumerism allows for a thorough understanding of manifestation of non-representational power structure in The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. His theory is firmly engrained in his analysis of power as a non-representational entity regulating the relationship between the individual and society by way of dissemination and exhaustion of concepts such as family, leisure and so on. Baudrillard, in other words, scrutinizes a concept such as family, very often confined to the peripheries of home and/or private space, as a consumer object through which various values and standards are compromised in view of the changing political economy. Among the most renowned values and standards being conferred under the aegis of family one can indubitably find the notion of maternity.

Correspondingly, this paper examines the ways in which Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle witnesses the altering status of the maternity in view of economic destabilization during the lost decade of Japan in connection with Baudrillard’s theory of consumerism. By alluding to the altering status of the notion of maternity, I argue that the protagonist’s attempt to emancipate his wife from his brother-in-law Noboru Wataya’s fetters is symptomatic of his nonconformity to the hegemonic masculine identity and his individual struggle. Following the years marked by economic instability, the notion of maternity, putatively separated from the capitalist production, was denounced as a constituent of self-indulgence and consumer culture. The home (maternal domain), once associated both with consumption and frugality owing to household saving rates and purchase of recommended consumer durables, lost its paradigmatic status. By contrast, a discourse associated with respect for hard-working fathers and capitalist economic expansion gained popularity in the 1990s, as Tomiko Yoda explains in “The Rise and Fall of Maternal Society: Gender, Labor, and Capital in Contemporary Japan.” Continue reading

Good News Vol. 4 :)

My Paper on Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World Published! 🙂

During the summer, I had to remove one of my essays on Murakami from my blog as I received an offer of publication. The editor of the journal sent me the good news today and it was finally published! My essayis titled “Consumerism and the Possibility of an Authentic Self in Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.” You can find the link to the journal and my essay below:
http://iafor.org/journal-of-literature-and-librarianship-volume-4-issue-1/.

 

 

Good News Vol. 3 :)

Since September, I have been waiting for the e-mail notifying me regarding the upcoming annual meeting of the Comparative Literature Association (ACLA). Finally, I received the good news this morning and learned that my paper was accepted for an oral presentation 🙂 You can read my abstract below and feel free to comment on it 😉

The Notion of Maternity during the Lost Decade of Japan through Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

In the wake of the economic downturn of Japan in the 1990s, the notion of maternity, putatively separated from the capitalist production, was denounced as a constituent of self-indulgence and consumer culture. The home (maternal domain), once “constituted as the center not only of consumption but also of prudent thrift” owing to household saving rates and purchase of recommended consumer durables lost its paradigmatic status (Yoda, 2000, p.873). By contrast, the discourse of paternalism, associated with respect for hard-working fathers and capitalist economic expansion, became a popular theme in Japanese media (Yoda, 2000).

Accordingly, this paper examines the ways in which Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle witnesses the altering status of the maternity in view of economic destabilization during the lost decade of Japan. I argue that Noboru Wataya, due to his remarks on gender roles and mysterious power over women, is illustrative of the view linking maternity with excessive consumption. Conversely, unemployed Toru Okada, who takes care of house chores while his wife works at a magazine, epitomizes the individual whose life is under change with the new economic conditions. Despite his circumstances, Okada disagrees with Wataya’s views and tries to emancipate his wife from Wataya’s fetters. In this way, Murakami, instead of the failed past system, seems to point towards an uncertain future for the improvement of economic and social issues prevalent at the time.

Yoda, T. (2000). The Rise and Fall of Maternal Society: Gender, Labor and Capital in Contemporary Japan. South Atlantic Quarterly. 99(4), 865.

Good News Vol.2 :)

Good News Vol.2 🙂

It has been only couple of days since I shared the news with you regarding the offer of publication I received. Today, this great news is followed by yet another one. I passed level N3 (intermediate) in Japanese proficiency exam. It is just intermediate level, but I still feel like it is a great achievement for me as Japanese is the most challenging language I have ever studied and it has mostly been through self-study. I am so happy that I could not help sharing it with you! 🙂 Now, I am really motivated to progress with this language further. N2, bring it on! 😛

Update!

Good and Bad News!

This morning, my “Wonderland Essay” received the formal offer of publication and it will be published in IAFOR’s journal of literature and librarianship in November, 2015. Due to publishing and copyrights, I have to remove the article from this page. As soon as it is published, I will announce it here and provide the links to the article! 🙂

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Quotes

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Quotes

These days, I am writing the second chapter of my dissertation and it is about Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. While I am at it, I also wanted to share some quotes I like in the novel 🙂

  • birdbird
    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami
    Published by Vintage Books
    Format: Paperback
    Pages:607
    Source: Publisher
    Buy the Book
  • “Is it possible, in the final analysis, for one human being to achieve perfect understand another? We can invest enormous time and energy in serious efforts to know another person, but in the end, how close can we come to that person’s essence? We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone?”
  • “‘No flow now,” Mr Honda said, nodding to himself. “Now’s the time to stay still. Don’t do anything. Just be careful of water. Sometime in the future, this young fellow could experience real suffering in connection with water. Water that’s missing from where it’s supposed to be. Water that’s present where it’s not supposed to be. In any case, be very, very careful of water”’
  • “‘When you sneak into somebody’s backyard, it does seem that guts and curiosity are working together. Curiosity can bring guts out of hiding at times, maybe even get them going. But curiosity evaporates. Guts have to go for the long haul. Curiosity’s like an amusing friend you can’t really trust. It turns you on and then it leaves you to make it on your own—with whatever guts you can muster”’
  • “‘When you’re supposed to go up, find the highest tower and climb to the top. When you’re supposed to go down, find the deepest well and go down to the bottom”’
  • “Memories and thoughts age, just as people do. But certain thoughts can never age, and certain memories can never fade”
  • “I realize full well how hard it must be to go on living alone in a place from which someone has left you, but there is nothing so cruel in this world as the desolation of having nothing to hope for.”
  • “I am not so weird to me”

Continue reading