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Eiko Maruko Siniawer
Williams College (Williamstown, MA 01267-2600)
A Cultural, Social, and Intellectual History of Frugality and Wastefulness in Postwar Japan

What is waste? This question is at the heart of this project--a cultural, social, and intellectual history of the concepts of waste and wastefulness in Japan from the early 1950s through the present. It asks why certain things, ideas, and people have been labeled and categorized as waste at particular moments of time, and reclaimed as not waste at others. It considers how and why understandings of waste and wastefulness were affected by the economic rollercoaster ride of the postwar era, and by societal and cultural shifts having to do with gender, work, and environmentalism. This history of waste will illuminate what various people deemed valuable and valueless, and what was considered worthy and not worthy of time, space, and money. The book manuscript will ultimately capture how various people in a postindustrial, consumerist Japan sought to determine what they valued--in everyday life, at home and in the workplace, in politics, in Japan's national identity and its place in the world.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
East Asian History

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2011 – 6/30/2012