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The Workshop in the History of Material Texts

Thomas D. Conlan (Princeton): "The Transmission of Omission: Understanding Japan’s 14th-15th Centuries Through Altered Histories"

Title image with images of the Taiheiki and Oninki Manuscripts

Monday, November 30, 5:15pm, via Zoom

O​​​​​ur speaker writes​:
In this talk, I introduce two important texts which recount the wars of Japan’s fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Taiheiki, the record of great pacification, recounts the wars of Japan’s Northern and Southern Courts (1331-1392), while Ōninki chronicles a complex struggle which lasted from 1465 through 1478. Through these I explore how the omissions of these texts shaped later histories as much, if not more, than the narratives themselves.

About our speaker:
Thomas Conlan is Professor of East Asian Studies and History at Princeton University. His work explores how processes such as warfare or ritual performance determined the politics, ideals, and social matrix of Japan from the tenth through the sixteenth centuries. His publications include: In Little Need of Divine Intervention: Scrolls of the Mongol Invasions of Japan (2001), State of War: The Violent Order of Fourteenth Century Japan (2003), Weapons and Fighting Techniques of the Samurai Warrior, 1200-1877 (2008), and, most recently, From Sovereign to Symbol: An Age of Ritual Determinism in Fourteenth Century Japan (2011). Currently, Professor Conlan’s work is exploring the role of religion and politics in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and argues that the Ōuchi, a daimyo of western Japan, were the central figures of their age. Recently, Conlan has explored how prophecies influenced historical narratives of the Onin War (1467-77) in an article entitled “The ‘Ōnin War’ as Fulfillment of Prophecy” in The Journal of Japanese Studies (Winter 2020).

We are virtual for fall 2020! All are welcome. If you would like to receive details on how to attend upcoming Zoom meetings, please sign up for our listserv using this link or visit the Workshop website.

The Workshop in the History of Material Texts is supported by the School of Arts and Sciences through the Department of English and hosted by the Penn Libraries. The co-directors of the seminar are Professor Zachary Lesser (English), Jerry Singerman (Penn Press), and John Pollack (Kislak Center, Penn Libraries).

Associated with the workshop is the book series in Material Texts published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, which includes many monographs that have emerged from presentations given at the workshop over the years.

For more information, please contact Philip Mogen.

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