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Migration and modernity and identity in east asia (MWWHA 2016)


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A dramatic increase in physical mobility is a hallmark of the transition to modernity in any society. The combination of economic industrialization, mechanization of transportation and proletarianization of labor makes migration necessary for effective development. This paper will examine concepts of modernity to elucidate the central role played by migration in transition to economic, social, cultural, and political modernity. Changes in internal and external migration in 19th and 20th century China, Japan, and Korea will be examined along with conventional historiographical periodization to see how understanding modernity as movement can and should alter our understanding of East Asian history.

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Migration and modernity and identity in east asia (MWWHA 2016)

  1. 1. Migration and Modernity (and Identity) in East Asia Jonathan Dresner Pittsburg State University MWWHA 2016
  2. 2. • History is more sensible when a mobile, not static, population is assumed. • Many definitions and descriptions of modernity fail to include new patterns and volumes of human movement as a primary component. • Modernization -- the transition to economic and social modernity -- cannot happen without migration. • Nationalist identity, a core component of modernity, frequently obscure migration.
  3. 3. Consensus definition of modernity without migration • industrialization, labor markets, wage labor • constitutionalism, and increasing emphasis on rights and needs of the people • a public sphere • nationalism and imperialism • individualism • rational, scientific and technological development; increasing application of bureaucratic, scientific, and technological methods • anti-traditionalism and opportunistic future- orientation
  4. 4. Osterhammel's 19th C. • Asymmetrical efficiency growth: industrialization and innovation, frontier development, military might, state control of citizenry • Mobility increased in scale, speed, infrastructure • Asymmetrical reference density: information mobility, discourse of "the West," non-Western studies • social and legal equality as an ideal, in tension with creation of a new hierarchy of nations and races. • emancipation, including democratization (pressure towards, if not success in), and legitimation of colonialism/imperialism as emancipatory
  5. 5. East Asia and Migration: Japan • Early Modern: dekasegi seasonal migrant workers, high levels of urbanization, national highways, elite mobility • Modern: population registration, but mostly free. Railroads and conscription. • Steady emigration of labor, regionally specific internal migration, and government- sponsored colonial migrations. Students. • Postwar colonial return migration.
  6. 6. East Asia and Migration: Japan • 1990s return migration program: Assumption that Overseas Japanese descendants would be easier to assimilate than non-Japanese immigrants. – Emigration as frontier settlement, colonial migration erased. – Kenjinkai and kibei emphasize cultural continuity – Japanese essentialism, Nihonjinron assumes unchanging cultural core. Internal diversity obscured.
  7. 7. East Asia and Migration: China • Qing: relatively liberal diasporic emigration, remittances, traumatic displacements. • Early 20th century urbanization, industrialization, massive displacements. • Later 20th century: Communist control and forced migrations; Hukou registration. Taiwan, Hong Kong become hubs of diaspora. • Student/study migration a constant. • Diaspora as nationalistic source of pride, remittances, potential subversion.
  8. 8. East Asia and Migration: Korea • Choson: low labor mobility, genealogical presumption of immobility • Colonial: Forced modernization, Japanese immigration and forced labor migration. • Korean War: massive displacement • Post-war liberal, mobile south: low emigration, overseas adoption, rising immigration • Post-war communistic north: control, forced migration, remittances critical.
  9. 9. Concluding Thoughts • Modernity with migration at the core? – While immigration is reasonably well recognized, emigration is not, and internal migration often assumed rather than studied. – Control v. acceleration. • Differences in East Asian migration reflect the different experiences of modernity, but don't seem to be causative. • History is more sensible when a mobile, not static, population is assumed.
  10. 10. Select Sources • Background image from Chinese Art: anonymous Song era scroll "Streams and Mountains" • Cartoon: Kiyama, Henry (Yoshitaka). 1998. The Four Immigrants Manga: A Japanese Experience in San Francisco, 1904-1924. Trans. and edited by Frederik L. Schodt. Stone Bridge Press: San Francisco, CA. • Osterhammel, Jürgen. 2014. The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century. Translated by Patrick Camiller. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ. 19th century summary from 907-919. • Adam McKeown. 2008. Melancholy Order: Asian Migration and the Globalization of Borders. Columbia University Press: New York. • Sztompka, Piotr. 1994. The Sociology Of Social Change. Wiley- Blackwell: Hoboken, NJ. • Patrick Manning. 2003. Navigating World History: Historians Create a Global Past, Palgrave Macmillan.
  11. 11. Select Bibliography • Appadurai, Arjun. 1996. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. U Minnesota Press: Minneapolis and London • Prasenjit Duara. 2004. Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern, Rowman&Littlefield • Gluck, Carol. 1985. Japan’s Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ. • Ian Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron, and Meera Balarajan. 2012. Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future. Princeton UP • Madeline Hsu. 2000. Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and Migration between the United States and China, 1882-1943 Stanford UP • Hwang, Kyung Moon. 2010. A History of Korea: An Episodic Narrative, Palgrave Macmillan. • Young, Louise. 1998. Japan's Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism. U California Press.