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Historisches Seminar


General Areas of Research

Much of my work grows out of an interest in reconstructing the worldviews of non-elite actors from the nineteenth- and twentieth centuries. With a regional focus on the Asia-Pacific world, I have written extensively on different aspects of Japanese migration history: on what it meant to be mobile in the modern world; on settler colonial history both within the colonies of the Japanese empire and beyond; on labour and environmental histories within the Pacific sugar plantation economy; and on the archival and methodological challenges of recovering such histories.

Published in 2012, my first book worked back from a local dispute in the 1980s to understand how the townspeople of one municipality in western Japan came to believe that building a nuclear power station would be a panacea for socioeconomic problems that dated from the late-nineteenth century. This brought me to the topic of how to write global histories of migration from the perspective of people who remained at home. My second book (2023) then followed the migrants themselves, focusing on a single Japanese steamship during its voyages to Hawai‘i, Southeast Asia and Australia during the Meiji period (1868-1912). This raised the challenge of  archival recovery—and so the book also turned into a discussion of global history methodologies in a digital age. My current work is located at the intersection of global history and Indigenous Studies; I hope to study maritime aspects of Japanese settler colonialism within the framework of British and US imperialism more generally.

Current projects and collaborations

  • North-South Engagements between Asia and the ‘Southern Seas’

    This project examines Asian engagements with the oceanic south, taken here to be the Southern Indian and Southern Pacific Oceans in the modern era.

    The DOCUMENT Project is a series of collaborative conversations and workshops that seeks to rethink the notion of the document.
  • Collaborations

    The Chair of Global History has many ongoing and former collaborations with other researchers and museums.