Young to present Edward N. Peterson Lecture at UW-River Falls

October 5, 2017-- Louise Young, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present a lecture at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls on Wednesday, Oct. 18, as part of the annual Edward N. Peterson Lecture Series. Young’s lecture, “Korean-Japanese Relations, Imperial Nostalgia and Japan’s New Right” is set for 4:30 p.m. in the Kinnickinnic Theater in the University Center and will be preceded by a 4 p.m. reception.

The reception and Young’s presentation are free and open to the public.

Young’s presentation examines the tensions in Japan’s relations with South Korea around economic rivalries and the Comfort Women issue that are driving the rise of the new right from the 1990s to the present, and explores the significance of Japanese nostalgia for the days of empire.

The outspoken nationalist rhetoric and pugnacious saber rattling of the current Japanese government under Shinzo Abe represents a break with longstanding policy norms. Since defeat in World War II, the Japanese state has kept a low political profile while pursuing economism in relations with Korea and other Asian nations. Abe’s changes in educational policy to promote aggressive nationalism, as well as his revision of the constitution to authorize unilateral military action, are both connected to a recent celebration of Japanese colonialism in Korea. This is a striking shift for a country that after 1945 had largely dealt with the history of its colonial empire by trying to forget it: an “empire mourned without a tear.”

Young is a historian of modern Japan. Her research and teaching interests include Japanese international relations, World War II in Asia, comparative imperialism, Japanese urbanism and urban modernism between the wars, local history and most recently, sociology and social policy. She is currently working on two book projects, “Middle Class Myths in Modern Japan: A Cultural History of Social Power” and “Sociology and the ‘Social Problem’ in Prewar Japan.”

The Peterson Lecture series honors Edward N. Peterson, professor of history at UW-River Falls from 1954 until his death in 2005. To honor his memory and his achievement in teaching and research, the UWRF History and Philosophy Department established the Peterson Lecture Series program as an annual forum for leading scholars to present their scholarship on war and peace, abuses and limits of power, and the struggle for democracy in the 20th century, issues that Peterson taught about and wrote about during his long career as a historian. The series is funded by an endowment made possible by donations from students, alumni, faculty and friends.

Young’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Year of South Korea Committee as part of UWRF’s Year of South Korea, 2017-18 program.

For more information about the Peterson Lecture series and Young’s presentation, visit

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