1st Terasaki Postdoc Studies Wartime Japan's Visions

1st Terasaki Postdoc Studies Wartime Japan

Aaron Moore, Terasaki Postdoctoral Fellow

On leave from Arizona State University, Aaron Moore will conduct research and teach about the relationships between technology, modernity, and empire.

I am examining the continuities between . . . two periods usually seen as polar opposites with regards to modernization

Aaron Moore will join the UCLA History Department this September as the first Terasaki Postdoctoral Fellow, a one-year appointment during which he will be on leave from Arizona State University.  Moore earned his doctorate at Cornell University in modern Japanese history and has also taught at Ohio University.  As a fellow, Moore will speak in the Terasaki Center’s colloquium series and teach an undergraduate course, "Technology and Power in Modern Japan," in spring quarter.

"This course will examine the relation between technology and society in Japan through a consideration of key issues," writes Moore in an e-mail message.  Those issues range from urban planning and the environment, to technology and consumerism, to cyborg animation and pop culture.  He will speak on "Technologies of Asian Development: Japanese Engineers in China and Manchuria during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)" at the Center colloquium on February 23rd.

Moore is working on his first book, Technological Visions of Modernity and Empire in Japan, which looks at "the idealistic values that have been associated with 'technology' and technological development" which included “a wider system of social, cultural, and political mechanisms designed to incorporate the energies of the people for the construction of a utopian ‘new order’ in East Asia.”  He departs from some scholarship on 1930s Japan by emphasizing the relationship between Japanese fascism and modernization, as well as their problematic continuities into the post-war.

"I am examining the continuities between wartime Japan and post-war Japan, two periods usually seen as polar opposites with regards to modernization," says Moore.  "I examine modernization and how it is not simply a progressive process of development but firmly tied up with power… how power worked not only in terms of violence and repression during the militarist 1930s, but also through mobilizing and managing spontaneity, creativity, and local knowledge for state purposes."

Moore’s remaining research involves Japan’s projects in China and Manchuria during wartime colonialism.  "I would like to focus particularly on how Japanese colonial engineers and technology bureaucrats in China and Manchuria attempted to realize their utopian visions of ‘constructing East Asia’ . . . during the war."

Published: Thursday, September 25, 2008