RIJS People Postdoctoral Fellows 2016-17
Ph.D. Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine 2015
Dr. Kimberly Icreverzi specializes in gender and reproductive labor in modern Japanese visual culture. She received her Ph. D. and M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Irvine. From 2015-16 she taught at Boston University as a Lecturer in Japanese and Comparative Literature and held an appointment as a Visiting Scholar in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. As a graduate student, she conducted research at Kobe University’s Graduate School of Law, and at Meiji Gakuin University’s Institute for Language and Culture as a Japan Foundation fellow.
Her dissertation, “Reproduction without End: The Gendered Labor of Japanese High Growth Cinema,” approached the problem of Japan’s postwar gendered division of labor by tracing a lineage to representational practices. By looking at examples from the salient film genres of Japan’s period of economic growth and high prosperity, she articulated how formal techniques of cinematic reproduction operated as a key site of contestation of gendered labor.
At the Reischauer Institute, Dr. Icreverzi will revise her manuscript for publication and continue with her second project on what she refers to as “somnambulant labor.” She plans to research this key concept to contemporary cinema and literature and its overdetermined transnational associations with Japan. This work intervenes in studies of sleep and the extension of labor into zones of rest by centralizing gender as integral to its distribution and demands.
Ph.D. Premodern Japanese History, University of Southern California 2015
Dr. Sachiko Kawai is a historian specializing in premodern Japanese history with a focus on women, their landholdings, and gender power relations in the medieval period (c. 1100-1600). She first came to the United States to earn a M.A. in TESOL at Californiat State University. Later, she attended the University of Southern California (USC) where she earned a M.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures. She conducted her dissertation research at the Historiographical Institute of the University of Tokyo with the support of a Japan Foundation Fellowship. After receiving her Ph.D. in History and a Graduate Certificate in Gender Studies at USC, she taught graduate and undergraduate courses in the East Asian Languages and Civilizations Department at Harvard University as a Harvard College Fellow.
Her dissertation, “Power of the Purse: Estates and Religio-Political Influence of Japanese Royal Women—1100-1300,” challenges a master narrative that emphasizes the rule of male royals and warriors in medieval Japan. While showing how royal women accumulated many estates and used their landholdings to wield political, economic, religious, and military influence, Dr. Kawai also discusses the limitations of that power. To challenge the simplified idea that the more estates a royal woman owned, the greater was her land-based power, “Power of the Purse” underscores the difference between the concepts of authority (socio-politically sanctioned rights) and power (actual ability to influence).
During her postdoctoral fellowship year, Dr. Kawai will develop her dissertation to a book manuscript, tentatively titled "Uncertain Reach of Power: Female Landlords and Their Strategies in Early-Medieval Japan (1100-1300)". In addition, she plans to commence her second project, which investigates a fourteenth-century dispute that entangled one local family with the interests of several different institutions—the royal court, the shogunate government, and Buddhist monasteries. Through this attempt, she will continue to add to her existing publications, which include “The Land-Based Power of Nyoin in Early Medieval Japan,” in Comparative Japanese Studies Annual Bulletin (2014) and “Life-Cycle Rituals for Newborns in Heian Japan” in a volume entitled Birth and Death in the Royal House (2015).
Ph.D. Anthropology, Brandeis University 2015
Ryo Morimoto received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Brandeis University in Fall 2015. Since 2011, he has been studying the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Accident (3.11) and has published articles on various topics such as anthropology and disaster, culture and sudden change, memory and material objects, and the selective remembrance of the nuclear in Japan. A recipient of the 2013-2014 Japan Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research, he conducted one year of fieldwork in Minami-sōma, Fukushima, exploring the relationship between the nuclear and the selective formation and preservation of memory. He focused on local residents’ struggle to remember and forget aspects of the TEPCO nuclear disaster in claiming citizenry rights to their land and property while also disavowing the status of a contaminated community. From 2013-2014, he was a visiting scholar of the Institute of Comparative Culture at Sophia University and the International Research Institute of Disaster Sciences at Tohoku University. At Brandeis, he received the University Instructorship Award for 2014-2015, for his course titled “Catastrophes across Cultures: The Anthropology of Disaster.” Since the June 2014, he has been Project Manager for the Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters Project at the Reischauer Institute.
His doctoral dissertation is a study of macro processes at play in the lives of residents living with low-dose radiation exposure in costal Fukushima. He introduces the concept “nuclear alterity” in order to consider the social, cultural and techno-scientific distance that exists between the Japanese and the nuclear, which makes it difficult for the memory and history of the nuclear to subsist across generations. He is particularly interested in material mediations of producing and/or removing certain images of the nuclear and the trans-generational communication of nuclear waste as well as its potential mechanism.
During his time as a postdoctoral fellow at the Reischauer Institute, he plans to expand and prepare his dissertation for publication. In addition, he will begin a project for the Toyota Foundation (2015-2016) to publish a bilingual booklet in Minami-sōma that will inform and educate residents and tourists on the local histories of disasters in the region. In addition he plans to investigate U.S.-Japan techno-scientific collaborations to decommission, decontaminate, and manage nuclear waste, examining how emerging technologies could influence people’s imagination of the nuclear when the nuclear becomes further physically and cognitively distanced from the human being.
Ph.D. Modern Japanese Literature and Film, Yale University 2016
Dr. Stephen Poland received his Ph.D. in Modern Japanese Literature from Yale University in 2016, previously earning an M.A. at the University of Washington and B.A. in Philosophy at Grinnell College. He works on literature and cinema in 20th century East Asia, focusing on how shifting problems of empire and nation, community and subjectivity are worked through by these two important cultural industries of capitalist modernity.
His doctoral dissertation, "Manchukuo as Method: Problematizing Nationality in Literature, 1906-1945," examines literature produced by Japanese, Chinese, and Korean writers in Northeast China during the period of Japanese imperial expansion, culminating in the establishment of the "puppet-state" Manchukuo (1932-1945). Through readings of individual literary texts and debates, it traces the articulation between spatiotemporal orders of Manchuria (such as the railway, the region, and the Manchukuo state) and globally circulating genres and forms of modern literary practice. Rather than posit Manchukuo as either a colonial container for the clash of national identities as portrayed through literature, or as possessing a coherent national narrative itself, Dr. Poland argues for Manchukuo as a method for reading the micropolitical aesthetics of literary texts whereby literature served as a practice of experimenting with affective and subjective possibilities that resisted capture by national imaginaries. This approach sheds light on how imperial formations sought new rationalities capable of recapturing the nation, following waves of national liberation movements after World War I. Further, it illustrated how Manchukuo writers faced this uncertain future by engaging the possibilities and limitations of literary form, genre, and language.
During his time as a postdoctoral fellow at the Reischauer Institute, Dr. Poland plans to revise and expand his dissertation for publication, making extensive use of the Manchukuo Collection at the Harvard-Yenching Library. He also plans to begin research on his second project, which explores representations of Manchukuo in postwar Korean, Japanese, and Chinese media, and how these “specters of Manchukuo” resonated with contemporaneous political developments locally, regionally, and globally.
Ph.D. Japanese Art History, Harvard University 2016
Dr. Yurika Wakamatsu is an art historian whose work examines the intersections of art and gender in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Japan. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University in 2016. Previously, she received her A.M. from Harvard and B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From 2013 to 2014, she was a visiting research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia at the University of Tokyo.
Dr. Wakamatsu’s dissertation, “Painting in Between: Gender and Modernity in the Japanese Literati Art of Okuhara Seiko (1837-1913),” investigates the aesthetic and conceptual transformations of literati art—a dominant mode of both being and representing in the East Asian cultural sphere that rose to unprecedented popularity in the early Meiji period. Although literati culture had predominantly been seen as a male prerogative since its genesis in medieval China, the female painter, Okuhara Seiko, capitalized on this mode of picture-making and self-fashioning in early Meiji Japan. She produced dynamic ink landscapes and idiosyncratic calligraphy, while embodying literati ideals through her manner of living. Seiko inhabited the persona of a literatus and crafted an alternative social world. Examining the complex interactions between changing perceptions of Sinitic culture and women’s place therein, Dr. Wakamatsu’s study ultimately seeks to reconceptualize the relationship between gender and literati art. Part of her second chapter on the modernization of literati art was published in Japanese in 2014, and part of her final chapter on the discursive construction of female masculinity was published in Japanese in 2016.
As a postdoctoral fellow at the Reischauer Institute, Dr. Wakamatsu intends to expand upon and revise her dissertation into a book manuscript. She also plans to prepare an essay for publication on the feminization of art and changing conceptions of modern Japanese womanhood, an earlier version of which was awarded the 2015 Chino Kaori Memorial Essay Prize from the Japan Art History Forum. Furthermore, she intends to lay the groundwork for a new project on the role of material culture in the construction of womanhood in early modern Japan.