John Szostak (Assistant Professor of Japanese Art History) will be presenting a paper entitled "Otago Conference on Japanese Modernism" at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand (August 14-16, 2009). The conference is to allow for exchanges between scholars who write about the nature of Japanese (and other) modernisms using cross-disciplinary, multidisciplinary and transnational approaches.
Szostak's paper, "Foul is Fair: Abject Beauties, Taishō-era Nihonga and the Psychology of the Grotesque," will discuss Japanese painters of the 1910s-1920s who featured decadent and/or grotesque images of women. He argues that the origins of this trend can be partly found in increased popular interest in insanity as a treatable medical condition. A refereed volume of selected conference papers will be edited by the conference organizers for publication.