Interdisciplinary Edo

Towards an Integrated Approach to Learning and Teaching Early Modern Japan

This workshop seeks to bring together scholars from across the United States, Japan and Europe to think across conventional disciplinary boundaries toward an integrated approach to Japan’s early modern period. By taking historical, religious, literary, art historical, and a variety of other perspectives into account, we hope to create a productive forum for a new, transdisciplinary conversation on political formation, social interaction, and cultural proliferation under the Great Peace of the Tokugawa regime.


TIME: 9:00 am – 3:30 pm



All members of our U of A campus and Tucson communities are warmly invited to attend our open symposium sessions on Friday, May 6 in the Environmental and Natural Resources 2 Building (ENR2), Room S2105

Workshop sessions are open to invited speakers and will take place on Saturday in ENR2, Room S215 and Sunday in ENR2, Room N595.

Directions from your location (or click the map image)

map image



Public Symposium Schedule

9:00 – 9:30 am

Coffee and Light Breakfast
(provided for speakers in ENR2)

9:30 – 10:00 am

Welcome Remarks
Albert Welter, Department Head, East Asian Studies
Joshua Schlachet, University of Arizona

10:00 – 11:15 am

Symposium Session One:
What is ‘Early Modern,’ ‘Japanese,’ ‘Cultural’ about Early Modern Japanese Culture?

Moderator: Hilary Snow, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

The Buddhist World Map in Edo Print Culture
Max Moerman, Barnard & Columbia University

Imagining Edo in the 1930: The Modern Discovery of Iki and Fūryū
Jingyi Li, University of Arizona

The Always Already But Maybe Not Quite Pre-Postmodern Edo
Christopher Smith, University of Florida

11:15 – 11:30 pm

Coffee Break (provided for attendees and speakers in ENR2)

11:30 – 12:45 pm

Symposium Session Two:
Objects and Ideas: Crosscurrents in Material and Intellectual Culture

Moderator: Joshua Schlachet, University of Arizona

Warrior Images in Late-Edo Popular Culture
Hilary Snow, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Against Popularization: Anti-Populist Currents in Edo-Period Literati Culture
Yoshitaka Yamamoto, National Institute of Japanese Literature

Aesthetics and Subjectivity in Early Modern Japanese Gardens
Nobuko Toyosawa, Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Insect Pictures and the Expanding Universe of Painting in 18th- and Early 19th-Century Japan
Chelsea Foxwell, University of Chicago

12:45 – 1:45 pm

Lunch Break (provided for attendees and speakers in ENR2)

1:45 – 3:15 pm

Symposium Session Three:
Local & Alternative Geographies: ‘Japan’ from Its Shores and from the Ground Up

Moderator: William Hedberg, Arizona State University

Riverbanks and Waterways: Inverting Edo as a City in Nineteenth-Century Kabuki
Satoko Shimazaki, UCLA *Participating Virtually

Fossilized Networks:
The Social Memory of Disaster Stones from Late Edo Japan
Kristina Buhrman, Florida State University

The Environmental and Material Foundations of Kyoto
Morgan Pitelka, UNC Chapel Hill *Participating Virtually

Ocean Influences: Managing Risk in Coastal Shipping
Jakobina Arch, Whitman College

3:15 – 3:30 pm

Closing Remarks
William Hedberg, Arizona State University

6:30 pm –

(Details to be announced during symposium)


Jakobina Arch
Jakobina Arch

Whitman College (History)

Dr. Jakobina Arch is an Associate Professor of History at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Her research focuses on marine environmental history in Japan, especially in the early modern period. Her first book, Bringing Whales Ashore: Oceans and the Environment of Early Modern Japan, examines the role of the marine environment by focusing on the many roles of whales in Tokugawa society and culture. Her current work focuses on coastal sailors and ships in early modern Japan.

D. Max Moerman
D. Max Moerman

Barnard College and Columbia University (Religion)

Dr. Moerman is a professor in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College. He is Co-Chair of the Columbia University Seminar in Buddhist Studies and an Associate Director of the Columbia Center for Buddhism and Asian Religions. His research interests are in the visual and material culture of Japanese religions. His new book, The Japanese Buddhist World Map: Relious Vision and the Cartographic Imagination (University of Hawai’i Press, 2021), explores the largely unknown archive of Japanese Buddhist world maps and analyzes their production, reproduction, and reception.

Nobuko Toyosawa
Nobuko Toyosawa

Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences (History)

Dr. Toyosawa is a research fellow at the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences. She is interested in exploring processes, structures, and systems that enable production of knowledge and interpretation of culture to understand the ways our reality is produced. Her research seeks to identify the past in the present and the implications of such discoveries as a means for political and social critique.

Kristina Buhrman
Kristina Buhrman

Florida State University (Religion)

Dr. Buhrman is a historian of Japanese religions, specializing in the pre-modern period (before 1600). Her research investigates how individuals saw and articulated their understanding of their place in the universe, and how this influenced their actions, particularly to ensure safety. In particular, she has focused on Onmyōdō and Sukuyōdō. Her book manuscript, The Rule of Time, focuses on the astronomical, cosmological, and political forces that shaped debates about the calendar in Japan’s seventh through twelfth centuries.

Morgan Pitelka (Virtual)
Morgan Pitelka (Virtual)

UNC Chapel Hill (History)

Dr. Pitelka is a professor of History and Asian Studies and Chair of the Department of Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a specialist in the history of late medieval and early modern Japan, with a focus on the samurai, tea culture, ceramics, cities, and material culture. He recently published Reading Medieval Ruins: Urban Life and Destruction in Sixteenth-Century Japan (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and 

Letters from Japan’s Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: The Correspondence of Warlords, Tea, Masters, Zen Priests, and Aristocrats (University of California, Berkeley, 2021).

Christopher Smith
Christopher Smith

University of Florida (Literature)

Dr. Smith is an assistant professor of Japanese Literature at the University of Florida. His research interests include postwar Japanese literature, Edo-period Japanese literature, Japanese popular culture and visual culture, as well as postmodern theory.

Yoshitaka Yamamoto
Yoshitaka Yamamoto

National Institute of Japanese Literature (Literature)

Dr. Yamamoto is an associate professor at the National Institute of Japanese Literature in Japan. He researches about Edo- and Meiji-peiord (17th- to 19th-century) Japanese literature and cultural history, with a focus on Literary Sinitic prose and poetry (kanshibun). His recent book Shibun to keisei: bakufu jushin no jūhasseiki 詩文と経世:幕府儒臣の十八世紀 (Nagoya University Press, 2021) explores the intersection of kanshi poetry and politics of the eighteenth century in Japan.

Chelsea Foxwell
Chelsea Foxwell

University of Chicago (Art history)

Chelsea Foxwell is Associate Professor of Art History, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College at the University of Chicago. She received her PhD in 2008 from Columbia University and her BA from Harvard University. She is the author of Making Modern Japanese Painting: Kano Hōgai and the Search for Images (2015) and co-author and co-curator (with Anne Leonard) of Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints (Smart Museum of Art, 2012). Foxwell has recently co-edited (with Wu Hung) a volume of essays on East Asian photography and is currently at work on a book that examines the origins of modern Japanese art in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is the recipient of grants from the Japanese Ministry of Education, the Japan Foundation, Getty Research Institute, Franke Institute for the Humanities, and the Institute for International Education (Fulbright Scholar).

Jingyi Li
Jingyi Li

University of Arizona (Graduate Student Organizer)

Ms. Li I a doctorate candidate in early modern Japanese literature and history. Her research focuses on Tokugawa-period literary history, particularly popular literature. Her dissertation project examines the transforming interpretation of bunjin literati in nineteenth-century Japan and emphasizes the role of popular literature in Japan’s modernization. She also hosts for the New Books Network Japanese Studies podcast channel.

Satoko Shimazaki
Satoko Shimazaki

UCLA (Literature and Theater)

Dr. Satoko Shimazaki is Associate Professor of Japanese Literature and Theater at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Edo Kabuki in Transition: From the Worlds of the Samurai to the Vengeful Female Ghost (Columbia University Press, 2016), which was awarded the John Whitney Hall Book Prize and an honorable mention for the Barnard Hewitt Award for Outstanding Research in Theater History. She has a joint appointment as Associate Professor at Waseda University in Tokyo.

Hilary Snow
Hilary Snow

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (Art History)

Dr. Hilary K. Snow is a specialist in Japanese art and culture from the Japanese Edo period. Her work explores artistic production and the mingling of sacred and secular practices at Japanese religious institutions. She is particularly interested in the visual culture of early modern Japanese urban spaces and aesthetic amusements at religious institutions. Snow earned her doctorate in art history at Stanford University, following an MA in East Asian Studies (also at Stanford) and a BA in social anthropology and art history from Harvard University. She has been a Visiting Researcher at Keio University in Tokyo and a Fulbright-Hays Fellow.


William Hedberg
William Hedberg

Arizona State University (Literature)

William Hedberg’s primary research focus is the literature and culture of early modern Japan, and his current project centers on the reception of late imperial Chinese fiction during the Edo and Meiji periods (17th-20th c.). This project brings together long-standing interests in Sino-Japanese literary contact, the formation of national literatures, and the history of translation in East Asia. Hedberg’s first book, titled The Japanese Discovery of Chinese Fiction: The Water Margin and the Making of a National Canon was published by Columbia University Press (2019). Other research interests include travel literature, Japanese Sinology, and the motif of utopia in early modern and modern East Asia. Hedberg’s research has been published in the Journal of Japanese Studies, Japan Forum, East Asian Publishing and Society, The International Journal of Asian Studies, and Sino-Japanese Studies.

Joshua Schlachet
Joshua Schlachet

University of Arizona (History)

Joshua Schlachet is a historian of early modern and modern Japan, specializing in the cultural history of food and nourishment in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His current project, “Nourishing Life: Diet, Body, and Society in Early Modern Japan,” examines the emergence of a dietary “common knowledge” as new practical guidebooks circulating among ordinary readers expanded the concept of a well-nourished body to encompass economic productivity, status hierarchy, and moral cultivation. His research interests include global and comparative food studies, histories of science and health, book history and popular publishing, and material culture and artisanship. Schlachet teaches courses on Japanese and East Asian history, dietary cultures, and everyday life. He received his Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University and holds an M.A. (Japanese Studies) from the University of Michigan and B.A. (History) from Cornell University.

Jingyi Li
Jingyi Li

University of Arizona (Graduate Student Organizer)

Jingyi Li is a doctoral student in Pre-modern Japanese literature and history, as well as a University Fellow. She earned her B.A. in Japanese Language and Literature from East China Normal University and M.A. in Pre-modern Japanese Literature from Kyushu University. Her research focuses on Edo period literary history, particularly popular literature. Her current project features intellectual / bunjin communities in the late Edo period. She is also interested in pre-modern Japanese print culture and paleography. Her hobbies are transcribing kuzushiji and cycling.