The Archaeology of Everyday Life in Late Medieval Japan

Oct 25, 2023, 4:30 pm6:00 pm



Event Description

This talk will introduce the provincial urban city of Ichijōdani, which peaked in the sixteenth century, a period usually associated primarily with political incohesion and endemic warfare. The archaeological evidence from Ichijōdani, particularly when put into conversation with excavated materials from other urban sites in Japan, illuminates the rhythms and logic of daily life for the many medieval Japanese who lived in urban agglomerates other than the capital city of Kyoto. I will also consider the destruction of this provincial city in 1573 and the meaning of that erasure for our understanding of both the period in which it took place and the larger metanarrative of Japanese history.

Morgan Pitelka is the Bernard L. Herman Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is Chair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and a Professor in the History Department. He received his Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from Princeton University. Before joining the UNC faculty, he taught at Occidental College. His scholarship focuses on the history of late medieval and early modern Japan, with an emphasis on material culture, environmental history, and urban history. Recent publications include Letters from Japan’s Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: The Correspondence of Warlords, Tea Masters, Zen Priests, and Aristocrats, and Reading Medieval Ruins: Urban Life and Destruction in Sixteenth-Century Japan. His new project is a cultural and environmental history of Kyoto from 1586-1670.

East Asian Studies Program