Productive Procrastination

The Journal of the Historical Society has put five recent articles up for free, including a four-year old essay by Herman Ooms on the state of Tokugawa intellectual history. Aside from the gallop through the history of state-of-the-field essays, it includes a quick, very positive, look at European scholarship in French and German. I’m not sure how long these articles (the rest of them look interesting, too, but not Asian studies) will be up, but I’ll be going back there for fun in between stacks of grading this week and weekend.

And, as a bonus, some 1920s British Jiujitsu demonstration films which really need someone who knows more about martial arts history to put into proper context.

1 Comment

  1. Wow, reading over that essay is like being back in Herman Ooms’ graduate seminars again, as all the works mentioned are ones we had to discuss in class and which were later included among the many items on the reading list for my exams. In fact, if I remember correctly I even went in and discussed these same issues, and provided my own two-cents concerning these various state-of-the-field articles he mentions, right at the time that this essay was apparently taking form.

    Notes at the end of the article point out that this piece was originally given in the form of a talk at Tokyo University in the summer of 2003, which probably accounts for the somewhat more casual style than what is seen in most of Herman Ooms’ published work. Still, I think it’s a good summary of where the field currently stands, as there seem to be only a handful of books to have been published in the past few years in what was once the booming field of “Tokugawa intellectual history.”

    Maybe the field is due for a comeback?

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