Phone (212) 772-TBA
Ph.D. Columbia University 2008; Assistant Professor
Political economy, historical anthropology, legal anthropology, urban space, colonial inheritance, post-colonial & post-imperial relations, history & memory, transnational East Asia (China and Japan)
My current research explores the generational transfer of unaccounted-for pasts stemming from Japanese imperialism in China. I inquire what it means for both Chinese and Japanese to come to terms with the Japanese imperialism more than sixty years after Japan’s original violence and injustice in China ended with the Japanese defeat and the disappearance of its empire in 1945, and how the introduction of the market economy in China has created a new dynamic concerning the contested yet under-explored past for both Chinese and Japanese. My first project takes place within a burgeoning economic sphere in Northeast China, while my second project takes place within a transnational legal sphere.
My manuscript under preparation, The Double Inheritance: The Afterlife of Colonial Modernity in China and Japan, explores how Chinese and Japanese postwar generations encounter and confront colonial inheritance in the urban everyday of Northeast China. Here, municipal governments attempt to appropriate the past by capitalizing on colonial remainders in their bid for competing in the globalized economy. I show how a political economy of redemption emerges from the everyday consumption of these newly reconfigured spaces, and how the moral economy of seeking redemption for the unaccounted past is inexorably linked to the formal economy of exports, consumption, and citywide pursuit of middle class dreams.
My second project, entitled “Accounting for Silence: (For)given Time and the Politics of Redress in China and Japan,” is an ethnographic and historical exploration of compensation for Japanese wartime use of Chinese forced labor. Using historical, ethnographic, and legal analyses of archives, survivors’ testimonial practices, and legal cases, I examine how, in both Japan and China, the dramatic disappearance and reappearance of the survivors, the bodily remains of those who died, and their archival traces show an underlying debt economy––moral and monetary––in postwar Sino-Japanese relations.