Timothy Unverzagt Goddard
At Yale, I teach courses in Japanese literature from the seventeenth century to the present. My research interests include language, modernity, urban space, and empire, with a particular focus on a historical period spanning the Meiji (1868–1912), Taishō (1912–1926), and early Shōwa (1926–1989) eras. In my research and in my teaching, I am eager to pursue intercultural and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Japanese literature.
I earned an A.B. Cum Laude in East Asian Studies from Harvard College, studying at Peking University as a Harvard-Yenching Fellow in the spring of 2002. I received my M.A. and Ph.D. in Asian Languages and Cultures from UCLA, where I worked with Seiji Lippit and the late Michael Marra, among others. From 2010 to 2011, I was a Fulbright Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Comparative Literature and Culture at the University of Tokyo. Prior to my arrival at Yale, I taught in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA and in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Hong Kong.
My current book project uncovers traces of Tokyo’s imperial past in the literature of the city, focusing on a period punctuated by two disasters: the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake and the 1945 Great Tokyo Air Raid. I reimagine Tokyo as an imperial capital (teito) through a comparative reading of Japanese, Taiwanese, and Korean texts. I position these literary geographies in relation to a rich visual culture of modern urban life, including maps, photographs, films, illustrations, and woodblock prints. Drawing connections between the colonies and the metropole, my analysis posits Tokyo both as a symbolic center of Japanese imperial power and as a key site for the experience of modernity in East Asia.