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Jordan Sand is Professor of Japanese History and Culture at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He teaches modern Japanese history and other topics in East Asian history, as well as urban history and the world history of food. He has a doctorate in history from Columbia University and an MA in architecture history from the University of Tokyo. His research and writing has focused on architecture, urbanism, material culture and the history of everyday life. House and Home in Modern Japan (Harvard, 2004) explores the ways that westernizing reformers reinvented Japanese domestic space and family life during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Tokyo Vernacular: Common Spaces, Local Histories, Found Objects (University of California Press, 2013), analyzes problems of history and memory in the postindustrial city. He has also examined the comparative history of urban fires and firefighting, the modernization and globalization of Japanese food (including sushi, miso, and MSG), the history of furniture and interiors, and topics in the study of heritage and museums. He is presently working on a study of manifestations of colonialism in physical forms ranging from bodily comportment to urban planning.


From 2009 through 2011, he served as Chair of Georgetown's Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. During academic year 2012-13, he was a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Information Studies, where he taught a seminar on approaches to the modern city.


Publications include Tokyo Vernacular: Common Spaces, Local Histories, Found Objects (University of California Press, 2013); House and Home in Modern Japan: Architecture, Domestic Space and Bourgeois Culture, 1880-1930 (Harvard, 2004); Flammable Cities: Urban Conflagration in the Making of the Modern World (co-edited with Greg Bankoff and Uwe Luebken; Wisconsin, 2012); "Living with Uncertainty after March 11, 2011" (special issue of Journal of Asian Studies on the Japanese earthquake and tsunami); "Imperial Japan and Colonial Sensibility: Object, Affect, Embodiment" (special issue of Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, Winter 2012-13); "Pictures and Things: Between Visual and Material Culture in Japan" (special issue of Impressions: Journal of the Japanese Art Society of America, Spring 2009, co-edited with Gregory Pflugfelder); "Property in Two Fire Regimes: Edo-Tokyo in the Seventeenth through Twentieth Centuries" in Investing in the Early Modern Built Environment: Europeans, Asians, Settlers and Indigenous Societies, ed. Carole Shammas (Brill, 2012); "Landscape of Contradictions: the Bourgeois Mind and the Early Twentieth-Century Colonization of Tokyo's Suburbs" (Japanese Studies, Summer 2009); "Gentlemen's Agreement, 1908: Fragments for a Pacific History" (Representations, Summer 2009); and "A Short History of MSG: Good Science, Bad Science and Taste Cultures" (Gastronomica, November, 2005).


Forthcoming works include Teikoku Nihon no seikatsu bunkashi (Everyday Life and Material Culture in Imperial Japan, Iwanami shoten, 2015).




Selected publications in pdf form:


Flammable Cities, excerpts: "Introduction" (with Greg Bankoff and Uwe Luebken) and "Governance, Arson and Firefighting in Edo" (with Steve Wills).


"How Tokyo Invented Sushi." In Food and the City, edited by Dorothee Imbert (forthcoming, Dumbarton Oaks, 2014).


"Diary: From Tokyo." London Review of Books, April 2011. An essay on the historical background to earthquake response in Japan.


"Chūryū / middling." An essay on the rhetoric of middle-classness in twentieth century Japan, part of the project "Working Words: New Approaches to Japanese Studies" (Jordan Sand, Alan Tansman, Dennis Washburn, eds. 2011)


"Landscape of Contradictions: the Bourgeois Mind and the Early Twentieth-Century Colonization of Tokyo's Suburbs." Japanese Studies, Summer 2009.


"Gentlemen's Agreement, 1908: Fragments for a Pacific History." Representations, Summer 2009. An experiment in historical montage.


"From Everyday Life to Print: On the Production of Two Modern Japanese Textual Genres." Proceedings of the Association for Japanese Literary Studies, 2007.


"Showa Nostalgia." Australian Financial Review, April 5-9, 2007.


"A Short History of MSG: Good Science, Bad Science and Taste Cultures." Gastronomica, November 2005.


"Monumentalizing the Everyday: The Edo-Tokyo Museum." Critical Asian Studies, Fall 2001.


"Was Meiji Taste in Interiors 'Orientalist'?" Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique, Winter 2000.



Selected Japanese publications in pdf form:


"Chabudairon o hikkurikaesu: Kodera-ke no chabudai" (Upsetting the Theory of the Family Dining Table: The Kodera Family Table). Bijutsu Forum, Fall 2009.


"Toshi kansatsu no bigaku: Kōgengaku to sono shison" (The Aesthetics of Urban Observation: Modernology and Its Descendants). Kenchiku zasshi, Summer 2009.


Gurutamin san natoriumu no shōshi" (Japanese translation of "A Short History of MSG"). Jōhō gakkan kiyō, Spring 2009.


" 'Bunka jūtaku' to iu media bunka no sanbutsu" (The Culture House as a Product of Media Culture). In Suzuki Hiroyuki sensei taikan kinen ronbunshū (Studies in Honor of Professor Suzuki Hiroyuki), Chuo koron bijutsusha, 2009.


Complete curriculum vitae and syllabi in the Georgetown Explore system here.



Updated 2014.11.7