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Susan Townsend

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

My PhD was completed at the University of Sheffield in 1995. I have been a lecturer at the University of Nottingham since 1999.

Expertise Summary

PhD supervision is available in the following areas:

Comparative urban/planning history involving 'motor cities' (including Europe and the U.S.) and Japanese or other East Asian Cities (Japanese language not essential).

Any history of Nagoya or Aichi Prefecture, Central Japan including environmental history (capability for reading Japanese essential).

The intellectual history of pre-war Japan. I specialise in the intellectual biography of Japanese Christians such as Yanaihara Tadao, Nanbara Shigeru, Nitobe Inazō and Yoshino Sakuzō and in the Kyoto School of Philosophy. I have published on Yanaihara Tadao and on Miki Kiyoshi. I would also be interested in supervising dissertations examining dissent and resistance in pre-war Japan involving both Marxist and non-Marxist intellectuals. I have also studied interpretative methods used by personality psychologists in relation to autobiography as a historical source. It is necessary to have advanced capability in reading Japanese language sources for this research (including pre-war Japanese).

Teaching Summary

Undergraduate teaching - I teach the following specialist courses: a) The Strange Death of Liberal Japan: An intellectual history of Japan in the 1920s and 1930s (special subject year 3). This… read more

Research Summary

Motor Cities: Automobility and the Urban Environment in Nagoya and Birmingham, c.1955-1973. Leverhulme Trust Major Research Project Grant, PI Dr Susan Townsend, University of Nottingham; Co-I Prof.… read more

Recent Publications

  • TOWNSEND, S. C., 2015. Simianization: Apes, Gender, Class, and Race. In: Simianization: Apes, Gender, Class and Race: Racism Analysis Series B. Yearbooks Lit Verlag. 171-194
  • TOWNSEND, S. C., 2014. The Great War and Urban Crisis: Conceptualizing the Industrial Metropolis in Japan and Britain in the 1910s. In: MINOHARA, T., ed., The Decade of the Great War: Japan and the Wider World in the 1910s Brill. 301-322
  • TOWNSEND, S.C., 2013. The 'miracle' of car ownership in Japan's 'Era of High Growth', 1955–73 Business History. 55(3), 498-523
  • TOWNSEND, S.C., 2010. Jidōsha no machi Nagoya to Eikoku Bāmingamu no hikaku sengo fukkō-shi' [Envisioning the Motor City: A comparison of post-war reconstruction in Nagoya, Japan and Birmingham, England]. In: ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CENTRAL WARD OFFICE COMMITTEE, ed., Nagoya-shi Naka-ku seishikō 100 shūnen kinen [Nagoya City: a one hundredth anniversary commemoration of the administration of the Central Ward Office] Nagoya Central Ward Office. 224-236

Undergraduate teaching - I teach the following specialist courses: a) The Strange Death of Liberal Japan: An intellectual history of Japan in the 1920s and 1930s (special subject year 3). This special subject is directly related to my research on inter-war Japan. Together the modules comprise a detailed analysis through translated documents and secondary sources of the short Taisho period from 1912 to 1926 which is synonymous with the terms 'liberalism' and 'democracy', and the apparent 'failure of freedom' in the 1930s. b) Japan in War and Peace 1931-1960. c)Japan in Transition 1185-1603 (Year 2 Option)

Postgraduate teaching - The Asia-Pacific War and Modern Memory (MA option)

Current Research

Motor Cities: Automobility and the Urban Environment in Nagoya and Birmingham, c.1955-1973. Leverhulme Trust Major Research Project Grant, PI Dr Susan Townsend, University of Nottingham; Co-I Prof. Simon Gunn, University of Leicester.

The Major Leverhulme Research Project Grant with a budget of £154,757 ran from 1 October 2011 until September 2014. The principal investigator is Dr. Susan Townsend, Department of History, University of Nottingham and the co-investigator is Prof. Simon Gunn, Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester. A PhD student Matthew Parker was supervised by Prof. Gunn and based at Leicester, a part-time Research Assistant, Mr. Kosei Mino, was based in Tokyo and Nagoya and supervised by Dr. Townsend.

The project was about how the coming of the motor age reshaped the modern city through a study of Birmingham and Nagoya, places defined by their relationship to the car. The research has strong contemporary resonance, revealing the roots of current dilemmas surrounding car use, the environment and sustainability. Its original aims were:

• to compare the relationship between the car, the environment and urban planning in two major centres of automotive production;

• to explore the contradiction between the promise of freedom and growth afforded by widening car ownership and concerns about the impact of the car on the environment and quality of life in cities;

• to establish a framework through which to analyse, in an international comparative context, the diverse philosophical and cultural understandings of the relationship between the urban environment and nature which underpinned the phenomenon of increasing motor use in the 1950s and 1960s.

• conceptually, the study aimed to engage with one of the central tenets of the historiography relating to Japan's remarkable industrialisation and modernisation during the time period in question and challenge the tendency to regard Japanese industrial and urban development in simplistic terms as 'unique' or as an exceptional model of 'Westernisation'.

We are currently completing a first draft of our jointly-written monograph Motor Cities: Automobility and the Urban Environment in Post-War Britain and Japan.

Conference Papers Relating to the Project

'The 'miracle' of personal car ownership in Japan's 'Era of High Growth' 1955-1973', Annual Conference of the Association of Business Historians, University of Reading, 1-2 July 2011

'The automobile and auto-democracy: Redefining private and public space in Japan's cities 1955-1973', European Association for Japanese Studies, Tallinn, Estonia, 24-27 August 2011

'Motorising the megalopolis: Cities, Culture and Cars in Post-war Japan' to the British Association for Japanese Studies Workshop at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, St. Anthony's College Oxford, 8 September 2011.

'Car and City in Japan: From wheel-less to 'post-car society' at the launch of the Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Nottingham, 10 October 2012.

'Motor Cities: Automobility and the Urban Environment in Nagoya and Birmingham, c. 1955-73' Centre for Economic and Business History, University of Nottingham, 6 February 2013.

'The Miracle of Motor Car Ownership in Japan' at a workshop 'Envisioning the Motor City: A comparison of Post-war Reconstruction in Birmingham and Nagoya,' held at the University of Nagoya, Japan in April 2014 and funded by the project.

'The Great War and Japanese Urbanisation' at public roundtable, 'Centenaire: Comment la Grande Guerre a Transformé le Japan' at the Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris, 9 September 2014.

'Nagoya: The Making of Japan's Motor City'; Symposium: Automobility in Transition, Leibnitz Association, Berlin, 18 September 2015

'Automobility and the Urban Environment: Japan in the Mai-kaa Era'; Nissan Institute Seminar Series, Oxford, 22 October 2015.

Past Research

Yanaihara Tadao (1893-1961) Yanaihara and Tadao and Japanese Colonial Policy

My PhD was on Yanaihara Tadao, a well-known Christian and pacifist who occupied the Chair of Colonial policy at Tokyo Imperial University from 1923 until 1937 when he was forced to resign because of his pacifist convictions. After the war he was reinstated and became president of Tokyo University. He was the successor to the intellectual traditions established by his two great mentors, Uchimura Kanzō who was the founder of the Mukyōkai (No-church) Christian tradition, and Nitobe Inazō, the famous pre-war internationalist and humanist. His extensive commentary on Japanese as well as European colonial policy is remarkable no only for its scholarly integrity, but also for its sheer breadth, and represents the most comprehensive body of writing of its kind before the Second World War.

My monograph, published in 2000, was the first historically contextualised analysis of Yanaihara's commentary on Japanese colonial policy. It is both an intellectual biography and wide-ranging analysis of his theories of colonisation and imperialism and includes an analysis of his writings on Taiwan, Korea, Micronesia, Manchuria and China. It is also an examination of the dilemma of the Japanese intellectual caught between the demands of state authority and maintaining personal integrity in wartime Japan.

Miki Kiyoshi 1897-1945

Miki Kiyoshi 1897-1945

Miki Kiyoshi was one of Japan's pre-eminent humanist philosophers in the pre-war period. He was a student of the 'father of Japanese philosophy', Nishida Kitarō. However, his collaboration with government think-tanks in the late 1930s has made him a highly controversial figure within historiographical debates both inside and outside Japan. In 1945 he was arrested and and detained without trial for harbouring a suspected Communist fugitive. His death, in prison, of neglect and malnutrition six weeks after Japan's defeat caused a scandal over delays in releasing prisoners, and prompted the occupying forces to hasten the introduction of a civil rights bill. Miki studied in Germany (under Rickert and Heidegger) and in France in the 1920s and was a prolific, diverse and original thinker who was revered in Japan as a plain-speaking, liberal and deeply humanistic philosopher who connected with the real lives of ordinary people. As a translator, editor and journalist he introduced many works of Western literature and philosophy into Japan, but also developed his own style of communicating philosophy to the masses.

My monograph, published in 2009, is the first extensive study of his life and work in English. More than an intellectual history of one man, it is also a history of reading and readership in the twentieth century. It sheds light on a remarkable exchange of ideas which took place between France, Germany and Japan during a brief, golden period between the end of the First World War and the onset of the rise of Nazism in Germany.

  • TOWNSEND, S. C., 2015. Simianization: Apes, Gender, Class, and Race. In: Simianization: Apes, Gender, Class and Race: Racism Analysis Series B. Yearbooks Lit Verlag. 171-194
  • TOWNSEND, S. C., 2014. The Great War and Urban Crisis: Conceptualizing the Industrial Metropolis in Japan and Britain in the 1910s. In: MINOHARA, T., ed., The Decade of the Great War: Japan and the Wider World in the 1910s Brill. 301-322
  • TOWNSEND, S.C., 2013. The 'miracle' of car ownership in Japan's 'Era of High Growth', 1955–73 Business History. 55(3), 498-523
  • TOWNSEND, S.C., 2010. Jidōsha no machi Nagoya to Eikoku Bāmingamu no hikaku sengo fukkō-shi' [Envisioning the Motor City: A comparison of post-war reconstruction in Nagoya, Japan and Birmingham, England]. In: ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CENTRAL WARD OFFICE COMMITTEE, ed., Nagoya-shi Naka-ku seishikō 100 shūnen kinen [Nagoya City: a one hundredth anniversary commemoration of the administration of the Central Ward Office] Nagoya Central Ward Office. 224-236
  • TOWNSEND, S.C., 2009. Miki Kiyoshi, 1897-1945: Japan's itinerant philosopher Brill.
  • TOWNSEND, SUSAN C., 2007. Lost in a World of Books: Reading and Identity in Pre-War Japan Literature Compass. 4(4), 1183-1207
  • TOWNSEND, S.C., 2003. Senjika no dai-Nihon teikoku ni okeru bunka, jinshu, kenryoku [Culture, race and power in Japan's wartime empire]. In: KOSUGI, M. and TOWLE, P., eds., Senso no kioku to horyo mondai [the problem of war memories and captivity] Tokyo: Tokyo University Press. 145-160
  • TOWNSEND, S.C., 2002. 'Yanaihara Tadao and the British Empire as a Model for Colonial Reform'. In: DANIELS, G. and CHUSHICHI, T., eds., The History of Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1600-2000: Vol. 5: Social and Cultural Perspectives Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan. 227-46
  • TOWNSEND, S.C., 2001. Yanaihara Tadao to dai-Eiteikoku - Shokuminchi kaikaku no moderu toshite [Yanaihara Tadao and the British Empire as a model for colonial reform]. In: DANIELS, G. and TSUZUKI, C., eds., Nichi-Ei Koryushi 1600-2000 [The History of Anglo-Japanese relations 1600-2000] 5: Shakai bunka [social and cultural persperctives]. Tokyo: Tokyo University Press. 166-181
  • TOWNSEND, S.C.., 2000. Yanaihara Tadao and Japanese colonial policy : redeeming empire Richmond : Curzon.
  • TOWNSEND, S.C., 2000. Culture, Race and Power in Japan's Wartime Empire 1931-1945. In: TOWLE, P, KOSUGE, M. and KIBATA,Y., eds., Japanese Prisoners of War London : Hambledon Press. 103-116
  • TOWNSEND, S.C., 1996. Yanaiharo Tadao and the Irish question: a comparative analysis of the Irish and Korean questions, 1919-36 Irish Historical Studies. ISSUE 118, 195-205
  • TOWNSEND, S.C., 1995. Yanaihara Tadao's Comparative Critique of Japanese and British Colonial Policy 1923-1937 Japanese Perspectives on Imperialism in Asia. 31-54
  • Japan's quest for Empire 1931-1945 . 01/01/1900 00:00:00

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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