By Julia Adeney Thomas
WINNER OF THE 2002 FAIRBANK PRIZE FOR top e-book IN EAST ASIAN historical past, offered via the yankee old organization Julia Adeney Thomas turns the idea that of nature right into a strong analytical lens by which to view jap modernity, bringing the learn of either jap historical past and political modernity to a brand new point of readability. She exhibits that nature unavoidably services as a political idea and that altering rules of nature's political authority have been principal in the course of Japan's transformation from a semifeudal global to an industrializing colonial empire. In political files from the 19th to the early 20th century, nature used to be redefined, relocating from the common, spatial suggestion of the Tokugawa interval, via temporal, social Darwinian principles of inevitable growth and aggressive fight, to a party of Japan as a kingdom uniquely in concord with nature. The so-called conventional "Japanese love of nature" mask glossy country energy. Thomas's theoretically subtle examine rejects the supposition that modernity is the ideological antithesis of nature, overcoming the determinism of the actual surroundings via know-how and freeing denatured topics from the chains of biology and culture. In making "nature" on hand as a severe time period for political research, this publication yields new insights into prewar Japan's failure to accomplish liberal democracy, in addition to an alternate technique of knowing modernity and the location of non-Western countries inside of it.
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Extra info for Reconfiguring Modernity: Concepts of Nature in Japanese Political Ideology
R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History (London: Oxford University Press, 1982 ), 216. 57. Among these critics are Thomas Carlyle, Schopenhauer, and Carl Schmitt. There are also critics of modernity who have little interest in nature. For instance, Michel Foucault, who speaks of his own initial resistance in “Questions on Geography,” in Power/ Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972–1977, ed. Colin Gordon (New York: Pantheon Books), 1980. 58. Max Horkheimer and Theodor W.
This is not because postmodernity provides us with 26 Introduction a privileged perspective outside history. Instead, it is our particular position within history from which nature seems both more fragile and more insistent than it did when Maruyama wrote. The restitution of nature to our understanding of modernity is not merely an additional category appended to the framework of our original analyses. Instead, it transforms that framework. As we have already witnessed in the ﬁeld of environmental history, the recognition of nature’s physical potency has humbled the human subject and reordered our stories.
J. Victor Koschmann, Revolution and Subjectivity in Postwar Japan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). The Trouble with Nature 15 and technology could be accomplished in Japan with so little liberation of the individual critical spirit. We can ask once more how the dissolution of the old order was masked as continuity. Nature as an alternative analytical term provides a means for sidestepping some heavily freighted terms and the narrative burdens they bear. Nature as the Unconscious of Modernity The third justiﬁcation for focusing on concepts of nature concerns neither Japanese documents nor Japanese historiography per se but rather the broader question of modernity around the globe and the locus of the non-Western world within it.