Planning to go to the Association of Asian Studies conference in Toronto next month? It’s a big, important academic meeting in the field. You’ll not want to miss this one, Ignatius:

283. A New (Excremental) Order in East Asia: Colonizing the Bowels and its Contents across the Empires

Sat, March 18, 5:15 to 7:15pm, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Mezzanine, York

This panel seeks to explore the intricate mechanisms of colonizing the Self and Other through the control of gastrointestinal processes. The presenters examine how these power relations were created and how they functioned within the prevalent discourses of nationalism, colonialism, patriarchy, and Orientalism. Through texts related to the medical and geopolitical space of Japan and China and encompassing the Western discourses that appropriate the Eastern Other, this panel on a broad scale reveals what might be called ‘anal colonialism’ because the processes of control in question are carried out through the practices that in one way or another are related to the anus and because they highlight an excessive disposition to manage the Self and the Other in this manner.

Alexander Bay focuses on a large project of policing the Japanese nation through control exercised over the human waste production, sanitization, and hygiene over the 20th century. Linda Galvane studies one specific instance of this kind of control and demonstrates how the representations of gastrointestinal orders in Hayashi Fumiko’s journal Northern Bank Platoon reflects the discourse of Japanese imperialism that crosses the national and gender borders. Hashimoto Yorimitsu with his paper extends the examination of authority exerted over the Other within the Japanese and Chinese context that preceding papers focus on and reveals how Chinese torture that involved the consumption of one’s gastrointestinal organs by rats was been appropriated by and propagated through Western texts.

Sounds delightful. What would we do without Asian Studies scholars? I thank the reader living in Japan who sent me this notice.

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