You are invited to participate in our annual meeting:
Anthropology of Japan in Japan (AJJ)
Now in association with the National Museum of Ethnology
We will have our annual meeting this year on May 12th and 13th in Osaka at Minpaku
Membership: About 80 anthropologists and those in related disciplines who work and live in Japan
Purpose: To provide an English-language conference forum for Japanese and non-Japanese anthropologists as well as other social scientists to share original research and work in progress in a small and intimate setting with those most familiar with our ethnographic context: contemporary Japan
Overview To Date:
Under the leadership of Harumi Befu, the AJJ began in 1998 with our first meeting at Bunkyo Daigaku in Kyoto. (A conference volume came out of that year entitled, Globalization and Social Change in Contemporary Japan, Eds. Harumi Befu, Jerry Eades and Tom Gill, Trans Pacific Press, 2000) Our second annual meeting in 1999 was at Sophia University in Tokyo and last year’s meeting was at Minnesota State University in Akita.
During the past three years, it seems that the general consensus is both that there is a need for a group such as AJJ and that we are fulfilling that need. We have had many good papers on a wide range of topics. There is no other group of our size or scope that functions as a forum to present findings and arguments in English. For those who are not part of a kenkyukai or for those who also want to present to a more international audience, we have done well.
Still, we have tended to be a group of foreigners working on Japan, both in the papers presented and the over-all attendance. That is, there have not been many Japanese anthropologists at our meetings. We would like to change that. To that end, we introduce the AJJ Network.
New Directions: AJJ Network
A network bringing foreign and Japanese anthropologists working on Japan together
Most scholars work within their national tradition. This has good and bad aspects, but is often professionally and practically unavoidable. Still, what AJJ Network can do is enable us to go beyond those national boundaries.
Many Japanese and foreigners living in Japan go to international conferences to present papers. Although it is lots of fun, it is costly and time consuming. (That kojin kenkyuhi disappears fast.) We hope that the AJJ Network could be a local version of this idea, bringing together anthropologists and those in related disciplines together. Actually, AJJ Network could be better because since we are all in Japan, we have the chance to develop relationships and friendships and get to know each other’s work in more depth. This is something that a weekend in the basement of some Hyatt hotel in Chicago or Frankfurt listening to 15-minute papers does not allow us to do.
By moving into association with Minpaku, we are hoping to offer a wider range of papers at our 2001 annual meeting. Since we are hoping for more papers presented by Japanese, we thought this might be a good time to propose a somewhat self-reflective theme: “The examination of national scholarly traditions in anthropology of Japan.” Our special invited keynotes addresses will focus on this question. We will offer one talk, “Anthropology of Japan by Japanese,” and another, “Anthropology of Japan by foreigners” by leading scholars in the field. Discussion afterwards will focus on the broad characteristics of different national traditions, their institutional structures and research profiles. Within these profiles, we will examine points of theoretical contact and divergence, ethnographic area of mutual attention and relative neglect, and distinct methodological approaches.
While there have been slews of panels within anthropology and “Japanology” on the politics of national identity and its effect on research, our goal will be somewhat more practical, even programmatic: we hope to use this discussion to identify common or complimentary foci and start to work together.
Since probably most of those participating actually locate themselves somewhere between the extreme poles of “Japanese researcher” and “foreign researcher” (in terms of education, training, teaching, etc.) we should have interesting discussions.
The advantages for both sides, although often ignored, are quite substantial. First, having more people more closely associated with your work improves research (even for the bunch of loners that many anthropologists often are). Second, we each increase the exposure of our writing to new audiences; increase potential funding sources; gain access to different data sources; and benefit from complimentary approaches.
Developing contacts with each other also opens the way for good institutional contacts in the future. If we need to organize future conferences, find some place to spend our sabbatical or some shorter research trip, help our graduate students with research or a job, or even find a new job for ourselves one day, this international network of people you know personally can help greatly.
Also, now in this age of “globalization” it seems that both funding agencies and publishers are keen to have multi-national research volumes as well as true comparative research.
What we would like to do is to introduce scholars who are working on related topics. We would imagine that these could lead to the development of new kenkyukai, joint-research projects, or even trans-national comparative research. (As you can see, we are thinking long-term.) At least, it should lead to shared thoughts over a cup of coffee and maybe an exchange of meishi and articles.
2001 Annual Meetings
We will have our annual meeting this year in Osaka at the National Museum of Ethnology, May 12 (from 2pm) and May 13 (until late afternoon). Minpaku is the foremost scholarly and research institute in Japan for anthropological studies. (For more information on Minpaku, please see their web site, including directions on how to get there and a list of hotels in the area, http://www.Minpaku.ac.jp/english/index.htm.)We have been lucky enough to secure an invitation through Harumi Befu to hold our meetings in their beautiful complex. We are inviting some of their scholar and graduate students to give talks and looking forward to having a chance to meet informally with them.
Since this is our first year, we will be somewhat informal and flexible as we look for a format that will best suit our purposes. We invite paper submissions from any and all. Ethnographic work in progress is encouraged if it has generated some preliminary findings that you can share. More theoretical work is equally welcome. Finally, we will also consider round tables devoted to a particular issue or the introduction and discussion of a joint research project. We will accept as many papers as we have time and space.
All papers should be given in English. It would be more interesting to “lecture” a paper rather than read it, but this will be the choice of the presenter. There will be discussions on each paper as well as time allotted for discussion of more general issues raised by the panels as a whole. (We will not necessarily have formal discussants.) We will make our participant list open to all who would like to distribute a copy of their paper in advance via e-mail. (This is especially useful if you have a long paper that you would like people to read before your shorter presentation.)
Abstracts Submission and Panels:
Participants can organize panels themselves, but this is not necessary. Anyone with a paper should submit an abstract. The organizers will put the papers into panels. Panels will be loose so as to allow for the inclusion of a wide range of papers. Unless we get a huge number of abstracts, we won’t have concurrent sessions.
If you would like to present a paper, please email Brian McVeigh an abstract of no more than 200 words to email@example.com. If you have trouble with the email, you can contact Brian at phone/fax: 03-3826-2490. April 15th is the real deadline, but please reply as soon as possible so we can figure out our numbers and set good panels for you.
There will be a fee of Y5,000 for all participants. (Also, you will be expected to pay your own travel, hotel, food and party expenses). If you might attend or want to be on our mailing list, send Brian an email right now. (Do not use “reply.” Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.) We will send out a list of abstracts and tentative schedule as they come in and get organized. You will want this list even if you don’t come just to see who is doing what sort of research.
If you would like to help us out, either in the preparation or on-site during the event, please tell Brian.
Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to seeing you at Osaka. Please tell anyone you know about us, and contact Brian about other e-lists or places you think we should contact. (We are sorry for duplicate notices.)
To Register: Brian McVeigh
Phone/Fax: 81-3-3826-2490 (in Tokyo
For other questions: David Slater
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