Japan in Our Futures: A Conference of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Research on Japan

When:  Friday 5 April 2013 (Time to be confirmed)
Where:  Interdisciplinary Centre of The Social Sciences (ICOSS)

Event type:  Conference

Japan in Our Futures: A Conference of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Research on Japan

Friday, 5 April 2013

Hosted by the National Institute of Japanese Studies, The University of Sheffield, part of the White Rose East Asia Centre with the University of Leeds (http://www.wreac.org/). To be held at ICOSS, at The University of Sheffield. http://www.shef.ac.uk/icoss

In popular understandings Japan has an uncertain future, eclipsed by the rise of its continental neighbours. While demographic, social, and political challenges undoubtedly exist, there are also signs that the future path Japan will take may not be so clear-cut. If we look at history, we see that Japan has often taken moments of crisis as opportunities for renewal, reimagining and even revolution. Looking around Japanese society today, we also see signs of change, both positive and potentially dangerous. Some of these include:

·         The largest street demonstrations in generations post-Fukushima

·         Political realignments that see old foes join forces and conjure different political futures

·         National (or nationalist) pride on the rise

·         New emerging industries as traditional corporations continue to fade

·         The continuation of internationalisation, particularly in education

·         Challenges to the status quo from artists and other cultural workers

·         Marginalised identities stepping out of historical shadows

·         Regional decline prompting innovation and entrepreneurialism

Signs such as these suggest that the future of Japan is a much more interesting topic than popular understandings would have us believe. As people who are studying about and researching Japan, we also expect our personal futures to be intimately tied to the future of this place that we have grown to love.

So what is the future for Japan? In what directions will future research on Japan move? Does Japan have a future that we can be involved in?

We are inviting final year undergraduate, masters and doctoral students from across the UK to join us at the National Institute for Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield for a one-day conference to consider how Japan features in our futures, both as students of Japan and as potential future scholars.  Specifically we invite proposals for 15-20 minute conference papers or poster presentations about your undergraduate or postgraduate dissertation research. We will be joined throughout the day by leading Japan scholars from the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds, which together constitute the White Rose East Asia Centre.

Our day will culminate in a ‘Question Time’-style panel of UK experts who will be put on the spot to answer our questions about the future of Japan and Japanese Studies in the UK, followed by an opportunity for informal networking.

This event is also part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Japanese Studies at The University of Sheffield.

Thanks to the generous support of the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the White Rose East Asia Centre, this conference will be free of charge and catered for successful applicants. We also have a budget to provide small travel grants to assist those traveling from outside of Sheffield.

To apply, please send a short personal statement about your interest in this event to japaninourfutures@sheffield.ac.uk by Monday, 18 February 2013. Please also indicate if you are willing to present a research paper or display a poster of your research findings at the conference. If so, please provide a short (200 word) abstract about your research.

We are working with the editors of Japan Forum and Reinvention: An International Journal of Undergraduate Research to provide guided editorial assistance to the best papers presented at the conference, with the view towards submitting these for publication.

Further details will be provided to successful applicants before the end of February.

"Japan in Our Futures" Organising Committee, Sheffield.