Anne Giblin

  • Fellowship year:2013-2014
  • University: University of Wisconsin- Madison
  • Dissertation Topic/Category: Japan
  • Dissertation Title: From the Inside Out: Social Networks of Migration from Tohoku, Japan 1872-1937
  • Anne Giblin's research contributes a narrative of local history that is both multi-centered and multi-sited. Her dissertation explores the implications of out-migration on the internal development of the northeastern, Tohoku region of Japan by examining interrelationships between imagined space, physical place, and identity formation. While the Tohoku region is popularly stereotyped as a provincial backwater, and neglected in scholarly considerations of Japanese history, Ms.Giblin contends that Tohoku was not isolated from the rest of the world during the fifty years leading to the Pacific War. Instead, this region provided the third-largest group of overseas migrants and transformed domestic society. Ultimately, she argues that out-migration represents, perhaps counterintuitively, a critical component of domestic modernization in Japan's northeast.

    Synthesizing materials collected in four countries over three years, Anne Giblin shows how the far-ranging social networks of emigrants from the northeastern Tohoku region of Japan resulted in communities that transcended national boundaries. She follows the ways in which migrant experience reflected and refracted back into domestic Japan via social networks in Hokkaido, the Americas, the Philippines, and Manchuria. Focusing on how local agency operated within a global context, Ms. Giblin displays how regional modernization did not emanate from the centralizing directives of Tokyo, but from a series of local transformations influenced by trans-Pacific communities. Thus, building on recent critiques of national historiography, this dissertation approaches the nation-history problem from a different angle, explaining how the construction of the modern state, paradoxically, deconstructed the nation-local history became transnational and transnational history became local.