Field: East Asia; Advisor: Kreitman and Pedersen; Year: 2020
Jason Butters is a History-East Asia Ph.D. student working on transpacific intellectual and cultural exchange through imperial Japan. Jason took a BA and MA in history from Concordia University (Montréal, ’14 and ‘16), writing and defending a thesis on interwar Japanese-Canadian diplomatic and cultural relations. Thereafter he spent four years in Western Japan, defending an MA thesis in political science from Kobe University’s Graduate School of Law (’20) while a Monbukagakushō (MEXT) scholar. This work examined early- century exchanges between state- and non-state actors on both sides of the Pacific.
At Columbia, Jason remains committed to multi-national, multi-lingual training and research. He plans to examine the experiences and aims of early-century internationalists – non-state actors who built and navigated transregional networks of exchange so as to connect the transpacific through Japan in new ways. To do this, he turns to the academics, capitalists, critics (and their friends and families) who were active throughout the region in scholarly associations, intellectual and cultural spheres, and in diplomatic circles.
These subjects reflect Jason’s interest in social, cultural, and intellectual history, as well as in the application of an inclusive range of ideas, identities, and experiences to the historical research. Jason meanwhile enjoys learning about discursive studies, theories of power and culture, and the use of literature and biography in historical analysis.
A lifelong student of Japanese, Jason is committed to contributing scholarship in both his working languages. To this he adds Korean. Jason was born in British Columbia and has lived in Vancouver, Nagasaki, Montréal, Kobe, and Osaka. On weekends he likes walking the city and to listening to music (new wave, emo, and jazz). Jason’s work can be found in Australasian Canadian Studies and Japan Review. Follow him on Twitter @butters_jason_g.