A Lord, a Pauper, and an Artist
Humanities Forum with Constantine Vaporis
A Lord, a Pauper, and an Artist: Putting People Back into Samurai History
The samurai are a staple of popular culture. Yet, too often they have been viewed in formal history writing, museum exhibits, film, and anime as monolithic: a group of fierce warriors, driven by a fixed moral code, bent on dying in service to a military lord, or daimyo. The reality is much more complex, nuanced, and arguably far more interesting. In this talk, Constantine Vaporis draws on the biographies of samurai from across Japan—including a lord, an impoverished vassal, and an artist—to weave the larger story of how the samurai changed from largely illiterate warriors tied to the land to an urban, cultured, and largely salaried, bureaucratic elite with a proud martial tradition. He argues that this transformation was critical to the vitality of the Tokugawa or early modern era (1603-1868) and to one of the longest periods of peace in global history. He also explores the challenges of writing the history of a diverse social group that existed for more than two-and-a-half centuries.
Due to limited in-person capacity, advanced registration is required. Free tickets can be acquired at the link below.
This event will also simultaneous stream via dreshercenter.umbc.edu.
Event password: Tx2KcU5n93E (89252856 from phones)
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