Reconfiguring Modernity Concepts of Nature in Japanese Political Ideology

ISBN-10: 0520228545
ISBN-13: 9780520228542
Edition: 2002
List price: $57.95
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Description: Julia Adeney Thomas turns the concept of nature into a powerful analytical lens through which to view Japanese modernity, bringing the study of both Japanese history and political modernity to a new level of clarity. She shows that nature  More...

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Book details

List price: $57.95
Copyright year: 2002
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 1/8/2002
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 256
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.144
Language: English

Julia Adeney Thomas turns the concept of nature into a powerful analytical lens through which to view Japanese modernity, bringing the study of both Japanese history and political modernity to a new level of clarity. She shows that nature necessarily functions as a political concept and that changing ideas of nature's political authority were central during Japan's transformation from a semifeudal world to an industrializing colonial empire. In political documents from the nineteenth to the early twentieth century, nature was redefined, moving from the universal, spatial concept of the Tokugawa period, through temporal, social Darwinian ideas of inevitable progress and competitive struggle, to a celebration of Japan as a nation uniquely in harmony with nature. The so-called traditional "Japanese love of nature" masks modern state power. Thomas's theoretically sophisticated study rejects the supposition that modernity is the ideological antithesis of nature, overcoming the determinism of the physical environment through technology and liberating denatured subjects from the chains of biology and tradition. In making "nature" available as a critical term for political analysis, this book yields new insights into prewar Japan's failure to achieve liberal democracy, as well as an alternative means of understanding modernity and the position of non-Western nations within it.

Preface
Acknowledgments
Note on Transliteration
Introduction: The Trouble with Nature
Objections
Justifications
Outline of Nature's Political History in Japan
The Topographical Imagination of Tokugawa Politics
Mental Maps
China as Imperial Center
Japan's Imperial Center
Rural Centers
Centers of Learning
Divorce Proceedings: Space versus Time
Early Meiji's Contentious Natures
Natural Forms of Contention: Laws and Bodies
The Historiography of Meiji Ideologies
Nature's Indeterminate Determinism
Kato Hiroyuki: Turning Nature into Time
Kato Hiroyuki and Tenko
Shinsei tai'i and Kokutai shinron
Jinken shinsetsu
The Reaction to Jinken shinsetsu
Baba Tatsui: Natural Laws and Willful Natures
The Equilibrium of Forces in Nature and History
The Death Wishes of Baba Tatsui and Herbert Spencer
Tenpu jinkenron: The Reply to Kato
Catalyzing Nature: The Role of Will in Baba's Social Evolution
Ueki Emori: Singing the Body Electric
The Basic Body of Tenpu jinkenben
The Political Problems of Ueki's Bodies
A Dance of Loneliness
The Acculturation of Japanese Nature
Social Evolution's Victory
Social Evolution's Defeat: The Political Inadequacy of a Progressive Cosmopolis
Nature as Japanese Culture: Bringing the Outside In
The Last Vestiges of Social Darwinism
Ultranational Nature: Dead Time and Dead Space
Shinto's National Nature
Economizing Nature
Educating the National Family
World-Historical Nature
Conclusion: Natural Freedom
Index

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