Announcements and Remembrances

While the discussions on the Asia lists have been a bit wooden for a while, other H-Net communities are lively and thriving, and the book reviews are a fantastic resource. Moreover, I know some of the current leadership of H-Net, and I have great confidence that they’ll take it in interesting directions with new technology and new paradigms. That said, though the leadership, editors, reviewers and participants are all volunteers, they still need money for technical support, infrastructure and other expenses, and we can’t rely on state institutions of higher learning for this sort of thing. Donate!

The 2010 Cliopatria Awards for History Blogging nominations are open through November, so there’s still two weeks to riffle through your archives and pick your best work, and your friends’ best work, and the best stuff off your RSS reader. The categories are, as in the past, Best Individual Blog, Best New Blog, Best Group Blog (which we won back in ’05), Best Series of Posts, Best Single Post, and Best Writer (which Alan Baumler won in ’06). I’m judging Best New and Group Blog, so we can’t win that again this year; otherwise, the field for Asianists is wide open! Nominate!

The 2011 ASPAC Conference will be a joint event with the WCAAS Conference, to be held at Pomona College, June 17-19, 2011. In a remarkable feat of organization, the Conference website is already live and accepting paper proposals, though the deadline isn’t until mid-March. The theme is “Asia Rising and the Rise of Asian America” but proposals on all topics in Asian studies are welcome. Submit! (and let me know if you’ll be there; we’ve never had a blogger meet-up at ASPAC before!)

Finally, a sad note: Harold Bolitho, one of my advisors and mentors at Harvard, has passed away. I had heard, through another of my advisors, that he’d retired due to health issues – a bit hard to believe for those of us who sometimes confuse volume with vigor. He was a substantial scholar, who didn’t write a lot by some standards, but who always had something interesting to say, and a depth of understanding that I will always envy.1 One of the graduate papers I was proudest of, in some ways, was one that I wrote for him, on the Nagasaki visits of Rai San’yo and Shiba Kokan; I was a little surprised to discover a year later that he’d published an article on a similar theme.2 I was pleased, because clearly I had picked a topic that really did have merit – a matter of immense anxiety for a first-year grad student – but I was also somewhat taken aback at how much more depth and substance Bolitho brought to a subject I felt, in my absurd youth, that I had covered pretty well. I’m very sorry to hear that he’s passed on, because he was a great teacher for a young, nerdy, not-yet-historian.


  1. I didn’t realize until now that he’d written a survey text on Meiji Japan, something that I’ve always felt was lacking in the English language literature. It’s a short text, though, and now rather old.  

  2. H. Bolitho , Travelers’ Tales: Three Eighteenth-Century Travel Journals. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 50 (1990), pp. 485–504  

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