Lecture: The Representation of Japan in the Republic of Letters

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November 21st, 2014 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm EST

Cost: Free
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Speaker: Professor Francesco Campagnola (Ghent University) with an introduction by Professor Thomas Keirstead (Chair, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto)

How did seventeenth and eighteenth century European documents, maps and journals represent Japan? How did the Republic of Letters – the self-proclaimed community of the scholars and the learned – imagine it well before the country was completely opened to the eyes of the foreigners?

With many unknown aspects – religion, history, geography, etc. – Japan became one of the last places to be put on the map of early modern European knowledge. This talk will analyze this long process of discovery and the role Japan played as an object of curiosity in the shaping of new and more comprehensive representations of the world. We will see the place Japan took in the rhetoric and the imagination of that age. Finally, we will examine how different actors and factions inside the community of the learned battled to include Japan in their theories and used the fragmented knowledge they had of it as a discursive tool against their adversaries.

This talk is co-presented with the Department of French at the University of Toronto and will be introduced by Professor Thomas Keirstead, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto.

About the Speakers:

Francesco Campagnola holds a PhD in history of philosophy from Sorbonne-Paris IV and Università del Salento in co-tutorship with Paris’ EPHE’. He has been awarded the University of Rome’s Grant for Studies Abroad, and has been both a JSPS and a Japan Foundation post-doctoral fellow during his research stay at Kyoto University from 2009 to 2013. Since 2013 Francesco works at Ghent University (Belgium), Department of Languages and Cultures, Institute of Japanese Studies, where he teaches courses on Japanese politics and comparative political thought.

He currently works on the cultural representations and symbolic meaning of the Renaissance studies in modern Japan. On this topic he has published articles in different languages and the Treccani Italian National Encyclopedia entry on Machiavelli in Japan (special edition for the 500th anniversary of The Prince).


Thomas Keirstead is the Chair of the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto.




November 21st, 2014 @ 6:30 pm
November 21st, 2014 @ 8:00 pm
Doors Open:
[gravityform id="69" name="2014-11-21 Republic of Letters"]
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