Monday, December 15, 2008

Welcome to Modern Asian History Across Borders

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These spectacular and fascinating images are from 1935, but they're not Chicago or New York. This is modern Tokyo more than 7 decades ago yet surprisingly close by, bustling center of capital, industry, and empire, embodiment of modernity's promises and contradictions. Buried under Allied firebombs, hidden behind stereotypical images of a old-fashioned, unchanging Japan, the dynamic and color of these lost images are symbolic of an Asia whose complex modern history is hidden from our memory. This web site is devoted to attempts to understand the modern experience of Asia as part of the modern world. Understanding Asia's modern history means being willing to look beyond the facade of "East" and "West" promoted by power interests in "East" and "West" alike. It means going beyond the World War Two-era propaganda images and the national stereotypes, beyond the Asia-as-exotic-commodity that continues to define the genre, into the deeper and broader structures and struggles that have shaped us all. For the history of modern Asia is in fact a history of ourselves. In this spirit we provide this forum for sharing, discussing, and debating the latest trends of the past in Asia's present.

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