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Black Ships & Samurai on Broadway
Black Ships & Samurai on Broadway
"Visualizing Japan (1850s–1930s): Westernization, Protest, Modernity"

Co-instructed by Andrew Gordon of Harvard (left)
and John Dower of MIT (right), the course looks at Japanese history and the skills and questions involved in reading history through images now accessible in digital formats.

MOOC: “Visualizing Japan (1850s–1930s): Westernization, Protest, Modernity”

In 2014, Visualizing Cultures' content and image-driven approach was made into a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in a first-time collaboration between MITx and HarvardX: "Visualizing Japan (1850s–1930s): Westernization, Protest, Modernity,” or VJx. The course ran Sept. 3 to Oct. 22 with discussions, polls, and word clouds. Detailed scripting by Professors John W. Dower (MIT) and Andrew Gordon (Harvard), with lead content developer Ellen Sebring (MIT), gave an image-driven structure to the online lectures and courseware.

This co-taught course looks at Japanese history and the skills and questions involved in reading history through images now accessible in digital formats. The introductory module considers methodologies historians use to “visualize” the past, and is followed by three modules that explore the themes of Westernization (in Commodore Perry’s 1853–54 expedition to Japan), social protest (in Tokyo’s 1905 Hibiya Riot), and modernity (as seen in the archives of the major Japanese cosmetics company, Shiseido).

This is a past/archived course, but an archived version of VJx can be taken at any time (click here). Certain features may not be active, but many people enjoy watching the videos and working with the materials. At this time you can only explore the course in a self-paced fashion, but make sure to check for reruns of VJx.

“Visualizing Asia in the Modern World”
Visualizing Asia is a series of content-driven conferences, in association with MIT Visualizing Cultures, in which scholars from diverse institutions and disciplines discuss the theory and practice of image-driven scholarship, and present topics based on the visual record of 19th- and 20th-century East and Southeast Asia. Conferences have been held at Yale University in 2010, 2013, and 2015; Harvard University in 2011; and Princeton University in 2012.

2015 Yale Conference, “Visualizing Asia: Images | History | Digital”
2013 Yale Conference, “Visualizing Asia in the Modern World”
2012 Princeton Conference Program
2011 Harvard Conference Program
2010 Yale Conference Program

Visualizing Asia: Images | History | Digital

The workshop-style conference was organized by
Peter C. Perdue at Yale University.

Saturday, May 2, 2015
Henry R. Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Ave, Room 203
Free and Open to the Public

Panel #1: Recent Visualizing Cultures 8:30 - 10:00
John Dower, Peter C. Perdue, Ellen Sebring
Updates on recent and upcoming units; the MOOC; Boxer Uprising

Panel #2: Photography and Power 10:15 - 11:45
Chris Capozzola, Samson Lim, Laura Wexler

Panel #3: Digital Humanities and Education
Trip Kirkpatrick, Peter Leonard, Shigeru Miyagawa

Panel #4: Visual Landscapes  1:15 - 2:45
Lillian Li, Bill Rankin, David Brody

Panel #5: Educating the Eye 3:00 - 5:00
Fabian Drixler, Allen Hockley, Julia Adeney Thomas, Shirley Ye

Wrap Up Discussion 5:15 - 6:00

David Brody
Associate Professor of Design Studies, Art and Design History and Theory
Parsons New School

Christopher Capozzola
Associate Professor of History
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

John Dower
Ford International Professor of History, Emeritus
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Co-Director of Visualizing Cultures

Fabian Drixler
Associate Professor of  History
Yale University

Allen Hockley
Associate Professor of Art History
Chair of the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Program
Dartmouth College

Trip Kirkpatrick
Senior Academic Technologist, Academic Services
Yale Instructional Technology Group

Peter Leonard
Director, Digital Humanities Lab
Yale University Library

Lillian M. Li
Sara Lawrence Lightfoot Professor Emerita of History
Swarthmore College

Samson Lim
PhD Cornell University 2012; Assistant Professor in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Program at the Singapore University of Technology and Design; Visiting Scholar in History MIT 2014-2015

Shigeru Miyagawa
Professor of Linguistics & Kochi-Manjiro Professor of Japanese Language and Culture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Project Professor and Director of Online Education
University of Tokyo, Joint appointment (from March 2014)
Co-Director of Visualizing Cultures

Peter C. Perdue
Professor of History; DGS, East Asian Studies
Yale University
Formerly T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations, MIT

Bill Rankin
Assistant Professor of History of Science
Yale University

Ellen Sebring
Creative Director, Visualizing Cultures, MIT (2002-2014)

Julia Adeney Thomas
Associate Professor
Notre Dame

Laura Wexler
Professor of American Studies; Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Co-Chair of the Women’s Faculty Forum; Director, Photographic Memory Workshop; Chair, Yale Digital Humanities Committee
Yale University

Shirley Ye
Lecturer in Asian History
University of Birmingham


4th International Conference
Visualizing Asia in the Modern World

Friday, May 10, 2013 – Saturday, May 11, 2013
Room 250, Loria Center, 190 York Street
Yale University

Sponsored by the Visualizing Cultures project at M.I.T. & the Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University

Opening Remarks
John Dower, MIT (tentative)
Scott Shunk, Visualizing Cultures Project Peter C. Perdue, Yale University

Panel 1: Religion and Sacred Landscapes
Chair: Andrew Quintman (Yale University)

Kabir Heimsath (Research Scholar, University of Oxford)
“Imagination and Identity in Tibet”
Thien-Huong Ninh (Bolin Fellow, Williams College)
“Mary, Miracles, and Martyrdom: The Vietnamization of Our Blessed Virgin Mary in a Globalizing World”
Mark Turin (Program Director, Yale Himalaya Initiative, Yale University)
“Digital Documents, Himalayan Heritage and Vanishing Videos”

Panel 2: Visualizing War
Chair: Fabian Drixler (Yale University)

Ivan Sablin (Ph.D. Candidate, Heidelberg University)
“Graphic Representations of Space during the Russo-Japanese Rivalries, 1904–1922”
Christopher A. Reed (Associate Professor, The Ohio State University) “Picturing the Sino-Japanese War (1937-45): State-Sponsored Artists & Party-Directed Memory”
Jung Joon Lee (Assistant Professor, Queensborough Community College, CUNY)
“En/Gendering the Nation: Militarism and Camptown Photographs in South Korea”
Austin Parks (Ph.D. Candidate, Northwestern University)
“ ‘Everyone's a Hero’: Japanese Photographs from North Vietnam, 1965- 1975”
Panel 3: Visualizing Intimate Relations: Women and the Family
Chair: Valerie Hansen (Yale University)

Susanne Formanek (Senior Researcher, Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna) “Japanese Visualizations of the Life-Course: Continuities and Changes since the 18th century”
Sepp Linhart (Professor, University of Vienna)
“Saikun tenka postcards: Modern Women’s Emancipation or Traditional Women’s Rule in Japan’s Twenties?”
Amy Marshall (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Wellesley College)
“The Transformation of Magazines in Japan: A Mixed Visual Media for the Masses”
Peilin Zhang (Ph.D. Candidate, The Chinese University of Hong Kong) “Sexuality, Male Power, and Women’s Resistance: A Study on Cartoons about Female Images in Girlfriend (1932-1933)”

Special Presentation
Ellen Sebring (Research Associate/Creative Director, MIT Visualizing Cultures and Ph.D. Candidate, University of Plymouth, England) “Civilization and Barbarianism During the Boxer Uprising”

First day closing discussion

Panel 4: Selling Artifacts: Images and Commerce
Chair: Peter C. Perdue (Yale University)

Ellen Huang (Kiriyama Teaching Fellow, University of San Francisco)
“china in China: Jingdezhen Porcelain as Qing Chinoiserie”
R. Kenji Tierney (Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Skidmore College)
“Re-Presenting Japan at the World’s Fairs”
David Wittner (Professor, Utica College)
“Silk Nation: Japanese Expressions of Nationalism through Raw Silk Export Advertising”

Panel 5: Empires and Villages
Chair: Lillian M. Li (Swarthmore College)

Nadine Chan (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Southern California) “Educational Film and the Rural Lecture Caravan in 1930s British Malaya”
Margaret Kuo (Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for the Pacific Rim, University of San Francisco; Associate Professor, California State University, Long Beach) & Robert Carbonneau (C.P., Passionist China Collection, Ricci Institute, U of San Francisco)
“The Passionist Eye: A Photographic History of Western Hunan, 1921- 1955”
Kuo-an Ma (Ph.D. Student, The Chinese University of Hong Kong) “Taiwan In Sight: Photography and Visual Culture in 1930s to 1940s Taiwan”
David Odo (Bradley Assistant Curator of Academic Affairs, Yale University Art Gallery) & Shinichiro Nagasawa (Photographer) “Making Postcolonial Pictures without the Postcolonial: Nagasawa Shinichiro’s portraits of Ogasawara Islanders”

Panel 6: Revolutionary Aesthetics: Masses and Individuals

Chair: Peter C. Perdue (Yale University)

Erik Esselstrom, (Associate Professor, University of Vermont)
“Visions of Mao's Red Guards in Popular Japanese Comic Magazines”
Christine Ho (Ph.D. Candidate, Stanford University) “Naturalizing the Military-Industrial Complex: Socialist Realist Ink Painting in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1966”
Marlene Mayo (Associate Prof Emerita, University of Maryland) “Visualizing Japanese Women in the Public Crowd, 1920s to 1960s”

Closing Discussion

Visualizing Asia in the Modern World:
A Conference on Image-Driven Scholarship

May 11-12, 2012 at Princeton University
219 Aaron Burr Hall

Friday, May 11

Welcoming Remarks

Panel: Imaging 19th century China and Japan
Chair-Andrew Watsky, Art and Archeology, Princeton

Raymond Pun, Envisioning Asian Social History through NYPL’s Digital Gallery
Pedith Chan, Landscape and Tourism: Visualizing Scenic China in the Early Twentieth Century
Guo Wu, An Anonymous French Missionary’s Photos of Late Qing Guizhou

Panel: Commodities on the Move
Chair-Susan Naquin, History, Princeton

Man Man Huang, Chinese Export Silk for the American Market in the 19th Century and the Female Influence
Rosalien Van der Poel, Commodities in a Visual Economy
Jessica Patterson, Through a Glass Darkly: The Sanctification of China Trade Paintings in Siam

Panel: Visualizing Technology
Chair-Benjamin Elman, East Asian Studies, Princeton

Monica Guu, Electric Shocks and Thunder Strikes: Visualizing Electrical Phenomena in Late-Qing Shanghai
Jadwiga Kamola, Documenting diseases in nineteenth century China: Lam Qua\'s portraits of tumour patients
Benjamin Uchiyama, Visualizing Aviation in Wartime Japan

Panel: Graphic Transformations in Republican China 
Chair-Cary Liu, Curator, Asian Art, Princeton University Art Museum

Ren Wei, The Graphic Transformation of the Modern Book in Republican China
Paul Ricketts, Shanghai’s Liangyou Pictorial: A Case Study of the Transcultural Migration of Montage Aesthetics
Saturday, May 12

Panel: Photography:  Imperialism, Democracy, and Humanitarianism
Chair-Michael Laffan, History, Princeton

Yun-wen Sung, Silent Coercion: Sumatra’s East Coast through a Colonial Lens
Kerry Ross, Democratizing the Fine Arts: Camera Clubs and Club Photography in Early 20th-century Japan
Caroline Reeves and Raymond Lum, Developing the Humanitarian Image in late 19th- and early 20th-century China

Panel: Transnational Perspectives and Othering
Chair-Jerome Silbergeld, Art and Archeology, Princeton

Monika Lehner, Graphic Representations of Things Chinese: Austro-Hungarian Political Cartoons, 1894/5-1917
Ayelet Zohar, Images of Otherness in Japan: Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians in 20th C. Japanese Visual Culture
Alice Xiang, Reclaiming the art of documentary in 'Chung Kuo': Michelangelo Antonioni's 1972 China film

Panel: Protest and Urban Modernity in Early-20th-century China, Korea, & India
Chair-Federico Marcon, East Asian Studies, Princeton

Steffen Rimner, The Opium Threat: Indian Origins, Chinese Radicalization and Asian Victimhood
Ha Yoon Jung, Searching for the ‘Modern Wife’ in Prewar Shanghai and Seoul Pictorials

Panel: Visualizing Change in Maoist and Post-Maoist China
Chair-Janet Chen, History, Princeton

Xin Huang, Changing Representations of Femininity in P.R.China in Personal Photo Albums
Non  Arkaraprasertkul, Visualizing Romance of Shanghai Neighborhood: The precursory experience and how do we know what we thought we knew?
Vivian Li, Art After the Revolution: Rent Collection Courtyard

Wrap-up Discussion

Harvard University

May 20–21

From the conference website:
The Visualizing Cultures project at M.I.T. and the following programs at Harvard: Asia Center, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Korea Institute, and the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies are pleased to announce an academic conference focused on the relationship between visual imagery and social change in modern Asia entitled, “Visualizing Asia in the Modern World.” This will be the second in a series of academic conferences devoted to “image-driven scholarship” and teaching about Asia in the modern world.

We have selected scholars of history, art history, history of photography, and history of technology specializing in China, Korea, Japan, United States, and Europe to discuss how to integrate visual and textual media in research and teaching, using to the fullest the opportunities presented by the new technologies and the use of the internet as a publishing platform.

Visualizing Asia in the Modern World: A Conference on Image-Driven Scholarship--All conference sessions are free and open to public

Friday, May 20

Welcoming Remarks

Panel: Photographing Asia
Chair: MARK C. ELLIOTT, Harvard University

Claire Roberts (Australian National University/Harvard Yenching Institute)
“China exposed: Hedda Hammer Morrison at Harvard”
Sakura Christmas (Harvard University)
“Cameras on Camel: Owen Lattimore’s Photography and the Inner Asian Frontier”
Aurélie Champ (Bibliothèque nationale)
“Discover Indochina with a Civil Servant: the photographs of Firmin-André Salles”
Panel: Bodies/Oppression/Protest
Chair: THEODORE C. BESTOR, Harvard University

R. Kenji Tierney (Skidmore College)
“Sumo Bodies in the Modern World”
Kristin E. Stapleton (University of Buffalo)
“Mingfeng’s Tale: Slavery and Servitude in Revolutionary China”
Ann Sherif and Wendy Kozol (Oberlin College)
“Visualizing Paradise and the Sea of Sorrow”
Panel: Visualizing Seoul and Colonial Korea (Part I)
Chair: CARTER ECKERT, Harvard University

Jina Kim (Smith College)
“Consuming Colonial Seoul: Department Stores and Competing Modernities”
Se-Mi Oh (New York University)
“Honmachi and Chongno: Architecture, Sign, Language”
Hyung Gu Lynn (University of British Columbia)
“Moving Pictures: Postcards of Colonial Korea”

Panel: Visualizing Seoul and Colonial Korea (Part II)
Chair: DAVID MCCANN, Harvard University

Ellie Choi (Smith College)
“Colonial Seoul: Space, Alterity and Empire from 1910-45”
Baek Yung Kim (Kwangwoon University)
“Changes of Urban Structures and Architecture of Seoul Since 1876”
Saturday, May 21

Panel: Visualizing Japan’s Empire
Chair: YOSHIHISA TAK MATSUSAKA, Harvard University

Helen Hardacre (Harvard University)
“State Shinto in Manchukuo”
Jie Li (Harvard University)
“Phantasmagoric Manchukuo: Documentaries Produced by the South Manchurian Railway Company, 1932-1940”
Paul D. Barclay (Lafayette College)
“The Empires of Japan: Colonial Postcards as Sources of History”
Chinghsin Wu (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
“Embedded Messages: Wartime Images in Colonial Taiwan”
Panel: Visualizing and Marketing China
Chair: Peter C. Perdue, Yale University

Li Chen (University of Toronto)
“Visual Representation, Imperial Subjectivity, and Intercultural Politics in the Nineteenth Century”
Lenore S. Metrick-Chen (Drake University)
“Advertisement as Transcultural Negotiation: China in the 19th Century American Trade Card”

Panel: Japanese Visions of Self and Other (Part I)
Chair: ANNE NISHIMURA MORSE, Boston Museum of Fine Arts

James T. Ulak (Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery)
François Lachaud (École française d’Extrême Orient)
Xiaojin Wu (Princeton University Art Museum)
Lee Glazer (Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery)
“Kobayashi Kiyochika: Master of the Night”

Panel: Japanese Visions of Self and Other (Part II)
Chair: ANDREW GORDON, Harvard University

Fabian Drixler (Yale University)
“Infanticide Images and the New Boundaries of Humanity in Nineteenth-Century Japan”
Robert Goree (Harvard University)
“Imagining China for the Popular Reader in Early Nineteenth-century Japan: the Case of Morokoshi Meishō Zue”
Wrap-up Discussion

Conference Program at Yale University
April 30-May 1, 2010

Friday, April 30

9:00 AM
Panel 1: Imperialism
Sucheta Mazumdar, Duke University, "Opium and Asia: One Drug, Many Histories"
Lillian Li, Swarthmore College, "The Summer Palace"
Peter C. Perdue,  Yale University, "Graphic representation of the Boxers around the world"
Robert Bickers, University of Bristol, "Graphic representation of the Boxers around the world"
Ellen Sebring, MIT Visualizing Cultures, "The Boxer Uprising Media Storm"

1:30 PM
Panel 2: Selves and Others: Interactions
Chang Tan, Harvey Mudd College, "Panasianism in Art"
Lisa Claypool, Reed College, "China in the 1903 Osaka Exposition"
Jack Tchen, New York University, "Asian Americans and the Yellow Peril"
Hyung-il Pai, UC-Santa Barbara, "Visualizing 'Antiquity' and Marketing Archaeological Tourism in Colonial Korea (1910-1945)"
Panel 3: Photography and Power

Christopher Capozzola, MIT, "Photography and Power in the Philippines"
David Hogge, Smithsonian Institution, "Photography and the Empress Dowager"
Wen-shing Chou, UC-Berkeley, "The Empirical and the Visionary in the Life of the 13th Dalai Lama"
Saturday, May 1

9:00 AM
Panel 4, Urban Modernity II: Shanghai and the Modern Woman
Jeffrey Wasserstrom, UC-Irvine, "Shanghai"
Rebecca Nedostup, Boston College, "Shanghai"
John A. Crespi, Colgate University, "The Graphic Imagination of Shanghai’s Modern Sketch (Shidai Manhua), (1934-1937)"
Anne Kerlan-Stephens, CNRS, France, "Death of a Woman, Birth of a Movie Star — Ruan Lingyu (1910-1935)"
Li Danke, Fairfield University, "Women and physical culture in the Qing and Republican periods"

1:30 PM
Panel 5, Urban Modernity I: Tokyo: Labor and the Modern City
Theodore Bestor, Harvard University, "Edo/Tokyo"
Samuel Morse, Amherst College, "Tokyo"
Christopher Gerteis,  London SOAS, "The Ohara Institute and post-1945 labor protests"
Andrew Gordon, Harvard University, "Labor movements before 1945"

5:00 PM
Closing Remarks

Visualizing Cultures Scholars Meeting

In January 2007 a colloquium of Visualizing Cultures scholars and advisors took place in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where scholars shared ideas and research related to the project and their contributions.

Short List of Visualizing Cultures Educational Outreach Events

• NCTA Visualizing Cultures Teachers Workshop, spring 2007
• AAS Visualizing Cultures Teachers Workshop, early 2007
• NERC NCSS, March 2007
• iCampus event, December 2006
• NCSS Conference, December 2006
• Primary Source Teachers Workshop, July 2006
• TEA Workshop, July 2006

MIT Visualizing Cultures/Five College Center
for East Asian Studies conference

On May 6, 2006, Visualizing Cultures and the Five College Center for East Asian Studies held a teachers conference in MIT’s Stada Center. This day-long workshop, attended by more then 90 area teachers, was a collaboration of Visualizing Cultures and Kathleen Woods-Masalaski, director of the Five College Center for East Asian Studies at Smith College. The focus of the workshop was Visualizing Cultures and the curriculum, but it also included presentations by other teacher resource groups working with VC including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Primary Source; and, from Yale, PIER.

John Dower presented a pedagogical overview of Visualizing Cultures and spoke to the myriad of resources available to teachers on the website including the VCID database and VCTV video resources. The afternoon sessions included concurrent workshops featuring the Visualizing Cultures curriculum where all teachers were able to work hands-on with the new VC curriculum.

Exit surveys were conducted asking the teachers their thoughts regarding the content and if they felt they could include the curriculum in their lesson plans. Of the 90 surveys collected there were 89 positive responses.

NCSS Teachers Conference

On November 17–20, 2005, the National Council for the Social Studies held its annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri. This yearly gathering brings together over 5000 social science teachers from the United States for four days of peer exchange, workshops, and seminars. Each year the NCSS receives as many as 1000 proposals for inclusion in the conference program.

Visualizing Cultures and the Black Ships & Samurai curriculum, developed in collaboration with Lynn Parisi, director of the Teaching East Asia (TEA) program at the University of Colorado, were selected as part of the NCSS program. Lynn and several teachers in her TEA program presented the Visualizing Cultures curriculum for the Black Ships & Samurai unit in a two-hour workshop. Teachers took part in actual lessons and classroom exercises. Afterwards, they discussed how they would employ Visualizing Cultures in their lesson plans, and how the curriculum addressed national standards.

Scott Shunk, Program Director for Visualizing Cultures, presented an overview of the project and discussed with teachers what types of content, technology, and additional curriculum would be available from Visualizing Cultures in the coming months.

Over 40 teachers attended the workshop and had an overwhelmingly positive response when asked about the content and the curriculum’s application in their classrooms. Three of the teachers who attended the workshop have become field testers for the project. Additionally, TEA will keep in contact with these teachers and many others they work with in similar workshops and provide periodic updates as Visualizing Cultures introduces new content and curriculum.

Visualizing Cultures has been nominated to do a half-day workshop for the 2006 NCSS conference to be held in Washington, DC, in December, elevating it to a featured presentation.

NERC NCSS Conference

In May 2005 the New England regional conference of the National Council for the Social Studies held its annual event. John Dower and Scott Shunk presented the Ground Zero 1945 unit as a keynote seminar to over 150 teachers in attendance.

Visualizing Cultures was featured again as part of the NERC event held in March 2007 bringing together over 500 regional social science teachers.

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