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Seminar: Commodore Matthew Perry's Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan
Date: 6 October 2010 

You are cordially invited to attend the following talk held as part of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures' Seminar Series:

Picturesque Grave Yards and the Visual Aesthetics of Free Trade in Commodore Matthew Perry's "Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan" (1856)

Dr Kendall Johnson

Date: 6 October 2010 (Wednesday)
Time: 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Venue: Convocation Room, Main Building

During the course of Commodore Matthew C. Perry's three-year expedition (1852-1855) to open Japan to free trade, several sailors in the fleet under his command died in Lew Chew (Okinawa), Yoku-hama (Yokohama), Simoda (Shimoda), Hakodadi (Hakodate) and Macao.  This talk considers verbal descriptions and illustrations depicting the "the melancholy duty" of burying the squadron's American dead. In the massive three-volume account of Perry's adventure, these graveyard sites are particularly interesting for the way in which their narrative description invokes for American readers extra-territorial sites of mourning for the loss of fellow sea-faring citizens.  Furthermore, I hope to demonstrate how Perry's "Narrative" re-works conventional rhetoric of British landscape description (i.e. the picturesque) in order to build a romance that heralds the rise to global prominence of a distinctively American form of corporate power.

About the speaker:
Dr Johnson holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BA Hons) and the University of Pennsylvania (MA and PhD). Prior to joining the University of Hong Kong, Dr Johnson was an Associate Professor of Early American Literature at Swarthmore College in the United States. The topics on which he has published include: the American writer Henry James; the development of eighteenth and nineteenth-century visual culture; the relationship between literary realism and ethnography; and the laws and literatures of Native America.  His current work focuses on literary and historical accounts of commerce and diplomacy between China and the United States in the decades after the Revolutionary War.

All are welcome. No registration is required.

For enquiries, please contact Dr Marie Berne,

Please find below details of upcoming talks in the SMLC Seminar

October 13  (Wed)  4.30-6pm, T6 Meng Wah Complex
Prof. Wang Li (Nankai University)

October 27 (Wed), 4.30-6pm, K.K. Leung Building Room 1121
Dr. John Haddad (American Studies)

November 3 (Wed), 4.30-6pm, Main Building Convocation Room
Dr. Victor Teo  (Japanese Studies)

November 17 (Wed), 4.30-6pm, Main Building Convocation Room Dr.
Marco Wan (Faculty of Law)

December 1st (Wed), 4.30-6pm, K.K. Leung Building Room LG109
Dr. Izumi Nakayama (Japanese Studies)

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