Rewriting Meiji Women’s History – The New Woman, Modernity and Hasegawa Shigure by Dr Mara Patessio

Date: 20 July 2011 from 6.30pm
Venue: The Japan Foundation, Russell Square House, 10-12 Russell Square, London WC1B 5EH

In this talk, Dr Patessio will challenge the distinction and gap that exists in Japanese women’s historiography between the Meiji ‘good wife and wise mother’ and the Taisho ‘new woman’ by reviewing understanding of late Meiji women’s (in)ability to participate in, and express their opinions on, social and political life. She will also introduce the life-story of Hasegawa Shigure (1879-1941), a female biographer, playwriter, and editor whose activities she has studied in detail as part of her Japan Foundation Fellowship – a marvel of her time who Dr Patessio believes deserves far more recognition than she has hitherto received.

Dr Mara Patessio was a Japan Foundation Fellow in 2010-11 and has been Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Manchester since 2007. Her undergraduate degree at Venice University in Italy was followed by an M.Phil at the University of Cambridge. From 2004 to 2005 she was a JSPS fellow in Japan before she then moved back to Cambridge as a Leverhulme Trust funded Research Associate, working with Professor Peter Kornicki on a project that investigated Edo and Meiji women readers, writers, and their reading practices. Professor Naoko Shimazu will be the discussant for this event – she is Professor in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research interests include the cultural history of diplomacy and the social and cultural history of Japanese society.

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