The Meiji at 150 Podcast with Dr. Tristan Grunow
Dr. Tristan Grunow, Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia and host of the Meiji at 150 Podcast (https://meijiat150.podbean.com/ ), visited Waseda University on June 18th, 2019 for a celebration and a special live recording of the final episode of the Meiji at 150 Podcast series. Interviewing Dr. Grunow was Dr. Hitomi Yoshio, Associate Professor at Waseda University. In attendance were the undergraduate students of Waseda’s Global Studies in Japanese Culture Program (JCulP), faculty members, researchers, and members of the public.
Dr. Grunow’s talk addressed his own research background, his involvement with the Meiji at 150 Project at the University of British Columbia, and his experience in creating the popular podcast series. He shared some of the most memorable episodes with the audience, and also explained the editing process, playing some of the instrumental music that he composed himself. As for the audience and reception of the podcast, which will end at episode 120, Dr. Grunow showed statistics of the countries in which his show was most heard: United States, Canada, and Japan. While the largest audience were academics, students, or people with some background knowledge on Japan, one surprising finding was that many Japanese students studying English seemed to be using his podcast to improve their English language skills.
In response to Dr. Yoshio’s question of whether he had noticed any particular trends in studies of the Meiji Period through working on the podcast, Dr. Grunow highlighted “transnationalism” and “migration” as two recurrent topics that allow one to question the narrative of success that surrounds the Meiji Restoration. He also questioned the efficacy of studying history in terms of imperial periods, explaining that the narrative of radical change may differ greatly depending on your field; for literary studies, for example, the narrative often begins not in 1868 but in the mid-1880s.
During the Q&A session, there were many questions regarding the state of Digital Humanities, the application of new technologies into teaching, and what we can learn from studies of the Meiji period in thinking about today’s society. There was an especially lively conversation about productive, alternative ways of teaching, where students might produce their own knowledge with the professor as a facilitator, rather than an authority figure. Among his closing remarks, Dr. Grunow asserted: “There is more than one way to do history. There are always alternative forms of scholarly production.”
■Event Overview ■
Date & Time: 2019.06.18 (Tue) 2:45pm-4:15pm
Venue: Conference Room 11, Building 33, 6F, Toyama Campus, Waseda University
Speaker: Dr. Tristan Grunow (Assistant Professor, British Columbia University)
Interviewer: Dr. Hitomi Yoshio (Associate Professor, Waseda University)
Audience: Students, Faculty Members, General Public
Global Japanese Studies Model Unit, Waseda University Top Global University Projoect
Global Japanese Literary and Cultural Studies (Global-J), Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Research Institute for Letters, Arts and Sciences, Waseda University
Ryusaku Tsunoda Center of Japanese Culture
Meiji at 150 Podcast: https://meijiat150.podbean.com/
*The final episode will be available soon.