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Books Aren’t Dead: Modern Girls on the Go

In this BAD interview Kate Page-Lippsmeyer (Doctoral Candidate, University of Southern California) talks with Alisa Freedman (Associate Professor, University of Oregon), co-editor of Modern Girls on the Go: Gender, Mobility, and Labor in Japan (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013).

 

 

Both the podcast and the transcript for this interview (as well as BAD’s past interviews) will be available for download in the near future. BAD is Fembot’s series of monthly interviews with feminist authors of recent books on media, science, and technology. For those who are interested in participating in the ongoing BAD project please contact the BAD editor, Hye Jin Lee (hyejinjlee@gmail.com), or Carol Stabile (cstabile@uoregon.edu).

About Modern Girls on the Go: Gender, Mobility, and Labor in Japan (Description from Stanford University Press website):

This spirited and engaging multidisciplinary volume pins its focus on the lived experiences and cultural depictions of women’s mobility and labor in Japan. The theme of “modern girls” continues to offer a captivating window into the changes that women’s roles have undergone during the course of the last century.

Here we encounter Japanese women inhabiting the most modern of spaces, in newly created professions, moving upward and outward, claiming the public life as their own: shop girls, elevator girls, dance hall dancers, tour bus guides, airline stewardesses, international beauty queens, overseas teachers, corporate soccer players, and even female members of the Self-Defense Forces. Directly linking gender, mobility, and labor in 20th and 21st century Japan, this collection brings to life the ways in which these modern girls—historically and contemporaneously—have influenced social roles, patterns of daily life, and Japan’s global image. It is an ideal guidebook for students, scholars, and general readers alike.

About the Author:

Alisa Freedman is an Associate Professor of Japanese Literature and Film at the University of Oregon. Much of her interdisciplinary work investigates the ways the modern urban experience has shaped human subjectivity, cultural production, and gender roles. She strives to show how literature and visual

media can provide a deeper understanding of society, politics, and economics. Alisa has published widely on Japanese modernism, urban studies, contemporary youth culture, media discourses about gender norms, humor as social critique, and the intersection of literature and digital media. Her work in progress include books about Sesame Street in Japan and changing images of working women on Japanese television and a series of articles on popular culture representation of Japan’s lost generation. Additionally, Alisa is engaged in a research and teaching project on the future of the book using Japanese literature as an example and is involved in several literary translation projects. Alisa has served as Resident Director of OUS study abroad programs in Tokyo and is currently Undergraduate Advisor for the Japanese Culture Major.

Laura Miller is the Ei’ichi Shibusawa-Seigo Arai Professor of Japanese Studies and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Christine R. Yano is Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

About the Interviewer:

Kate Page-Lippsmeyer is a Ph.D. Candidate in East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California. Her work focuses on modern Japanese fiction, particularly science fiction, gender studies, posthumanism, feminist writing, and new media. Her dissertation, titled “The Emergence of

Gendered Posthumans in Japanese Science Fiction” is an interdisciplinary literary, visual studies, and new media studies investigation of the contradictions within the aesthetic space created by the longest running Japanese science fiction magazine’s cover illustrators and how those inconsistencies affected the function and articulation of the “posthuman” in feminist science fiction. By tracing these spectacles the study redefines the cyborg’s subversive potential and challenges utopic thinking about the dissolution of gender in the posthuman to propose a new model of distributed authorship for the digital age rooted in the relationship between fan and genre.

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