Robert Thomas Tierney

Apr 22, 2021

Tropics of Savagery

The Culture of Japanese Empire in Comparative Frame

University of California Press 2010

Tropics of Savagery: The Culture of Japanese Empire in Comparative Frame (U California Press, 2010) is an incisive and provocative study of the figures and tropes of “savagery” in Japanese colonial culture. Through a rigorous analysis of literary works, ethnographic studies, and a variety of other discourses, Robert Thomas Tierney demonstrates how imperial Japan constructed its own identity in relation both to the West and to the people it colonized. By examining the representations of Taiwanese aborigines and indigenous Micronesians in the works of prominent writers, he shows that the trope of the savage underwent several metamorphoses over the course of Japan's colonial period--violent headhunter to be subjugated, ethnographic other to be studied, happy primitive to be exoticized, and hybrid colonial subject to be assimilated.

Dr. Robert Tierney is professor of Japanese literature in the Departments of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Comparative and World Literatures in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Samee Siddiqui is a former journalist who is currently a PhD Candidate at the Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His dissertation explores discussions relating to religion, race, and empire between South Asian and Japanese figures in Tokyo from 1905 until 1945. You can find him on twitter @ssiddiqui83

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Samee Siddiqui

Samee Siddiqui is a former journalist who is currently a PhD Candidate at the Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can find him on twitter @ssiddiqui83

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