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Anthropologist Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney examines symbolism and national identity from a cross-cultural perspective on March 22, 2010.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Anthropologist Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney will discuss “Japanese Cherry Blossoms and the Roses of European Dictators” in a lecture at Vassar College on Monday, March 22, 2010. Free and open to the public, the program will begin at 5:30 pm in Taylor Hall, room 203.

Her talk will examine symbolism and national identity from a cross-cultural perspective. Ohnuki-Tierney's scholarship has involved looking at long periods of Japanese history in an attempt to understand “culture through time.” She has focused on various symbols of national identity for the Japanese, such as rice and the monkey, within broader socio-political contexts and in comparative perspective.
 
Ohnuki-Tierney’s most recent work has considered how governments, since the end of the 19th century through World War II, have manipulated cherished symbolism, such as that of cherry blossoms, in order to co-opt the public for such purposes as waging wars and imperial expansions. She continues to explore general theories about the role of symbolism and folk aesthetics from historical and cross-cultural perspectives and to show how the “culture concept” itself must be historicized.
 
Born and raised in Japan, Ohnuki-Tierney came to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship after earning a BA degree from Tsuda College in Tokyo. She received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is currently the William F. Vilas Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is the author of a number of books in English and Japanese, including Kamikaze Diaries: Reflections of Japanese Student Soldiers (2006); Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, and Nationalisms: The Militarization of Aesthetics in Japanese History (2002); Rice as Self: Japanese Identities Through Time (1993); The Monkey as Mirror: Symbolic Transformations in Japanese History and Ritual (1987); and Illness and Culture in Contemporary Japan (1984).
 
This lecture is co-sponsored by the Anthropology Department, the Asian Studies Program, the Chinese and Japanese Department, and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.
 
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact Campus Activities Office at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.
 
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Monday, March 1, 2010