“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

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/.

 

 

Happy News about an Upcoming Conference

A week ago, I sent an abstract for the 5th Asian Conference on Literature & Librarianship ( http://iafor.org/iafor/conferences/librasia2015/ ) and today, I got the happy news. My topic was accepted for an oral presentation. This will be my first conference after a long while. The conference will be held next year April in Osaka.

I will present a paper on Murakami Haruki’s Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. The theme of the conference is ‘Power’ and I will try to discuss this novel by referring to Jean Baudrillard’s The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures. I particularly chose Baudrillard to argue the conference theme in relation to consumerist and managed societies and their influence on the self. While doing so, I’m also planning to put the novel in its own historical context, roughly 1970s and early 1980s.

Is there any other soul going to this conference? I’m already so excited and looking forward to giving my speech 🙂