Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and University Honors
Human Resources Management
The study of modem Japan by American scholars has evolved in a way that allows one to demarcate specific groups. As is usually the case, these groups maintain specific positions, perhaps shaped by the political times. This essay addresses the evolution and delegitimization of the modernization theory as it was applied to Japan in the 1950s and 1960s by western scholars, paying special attention to two figures, John Dower and Carol Gluck. Through looking at the scholarship of Dower and Gluck it is possible to see the transformation of the entire discipline of the study of modem Japan by scholars in America, in that Dower and Gluck played the leading roles in discrediting the modernization theory and by guiding the field to other important conceptual frameworks.
In terms of organization, it is prudent to begin with a summary of the scholarship surrounding the modernization theory, although this is certainly not where studies of modem Japan began. After outlining the modernization theory, I examine the three groups of scholars who have studied modem Japanese history in America. First, those who applied the modernization theory to Japan around the 1950s and 60s. These include Edwin Reischauer, Marius Jansen, and Robert Bellah. They are followed chronologically by Gluck and Dower, working from the 1970s up to the present period. Finally, a brief analysis of Louise Young's commanding book, Total Empire, will show how both Gluck and Dower's scholarship and tutelage (Young studied under Gluck and Dower) is being carried on in the current generation of scholars. The main focus of this paper is on the transformative powers of Dower and Gluck; therefore, the majority of the thesis is devoted to the scholarship of these two seminal figures.
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Radmacher, Amanda, "The Changing Discourse of Historical Studies of Modern Japan in America" (2009). University Honors Theses. Paper 1014.