Representing Japan

The work here grows out of my doctoral research, which was conducted at Hokkaido University and examined the early modern geographical imagination of the ezochi, the amorphuous region to Japan's north which would be colonized through the expansion of the Russian and Japanese states. The portion of this region claimed by Japan was that associated with and inhabited by the Ainu people, and is today referred to as Hokkaido. 

My interest was in analyzing early modern Japan's awareness of this space as an outcome of situated methods and practices of spatial cognition, rather than resulting from a (putatively) modern mode of surveying. The emergence and demarcation of the 'land of the ezo' in Japan occured on the basis of information circulating within and among the subjects and intellectuals of not only the Tokugawa, but also the Qing, Russian, Dutch, French, English, American, and other imperial formations. It was this transborder circulation of materially-mediated geographical knowledge which enabled the creation and demarcation of an ezo space, which was made real even as its indigenuous inhabitants were geo-graphed out of existance over the course of this inter-imperial exchange of information.

Please see the publications below for more details. Monograph perpetually forthcoming.