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Faculty, Staff, and Students from the Department of Asian Studies gathered in the Queen Anne room of the Campus Y on Friday, Nov. 22 to celebrate the leadership, teaching, scholarship, and friendship of Professor Emerita Jan Bardsley, who retired from UNC in the spring of 2019.

The event began with Consul General Kazuyuki Takeuchi from the Atlanta Consulate of Japan presenting Professor Bardsley with a commendation for her remarkable career in higher education and service to Japanese-American relations. This was followed by a playful “Jan-ecdote” quiz in which we shared memories of working with Jan over the years.

Jan Bardsley Celebration

After the quiz, Professor Emeritus Miles Fletcher read a limerick in celebration of Professor Bardsley, and the event closed with a music performance by Professors Afroz Taj and John Caldwell.

Professor Bardsley’s career has made her one of the most influential scholars in her field. She has published two sole-authored books, fifteen refereed articles, and seven refereed book chapters. She has also written five refereed co-authored articles and chapters, co-edited two edited volumes, and guest edited six special journal issues. Her third sole-authored book is near completion and is under contract for review at the University of California Press.

The quality of Bardsley’s research and writing more than matches her productivity. Her first book, The Bluestockings of Japan, is a major contribution to the study of global first-wave feminism and foundational to Japanese women’s studies. This book earned her the prestigious Hiratsuka Raichō Award from Japan’s Women’s University in Tokyo in 2012. Her second book, Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan, fills a gap in Japanese women’s history by targeting an understudied period (the 1950s) and has consequently been widely read and well-received. Her third monograph in progress, “Maiko Masquerade: Crafting Geisha Girlhood in Japan,” as well as her two coedited volumes Bad Girls of Japan and Manners and Mischief: Gender, Power and Etiquette in Japan, approach Japanese popular culture and vernacular practices in a highly innovative manner. As a result of this extensive, wide-ranging, and high quality research she has been invited to give dozens of lectures at universities in the United States and abroad. Most recently she was awarded a prestigious visiting professorship at Ochanamizu University in Tokyo.

Bardsley has emerged as a leader in Japanese women’s studies not only on the basis of her research, but also as a result of her generous support for colleagues and extensive mentoring of younger scholars in the field of Japanese women’s studies. Through this work she has been a leader in shaping the field in ways that will far outlast her own career as a teacher and scholar. Her extensive record of collaboration (coauthoring and coediting volumes) that is unusual in the humanities is one indication of this commitment. Her guest editing of journal issues and participation on numerous external dissertation committees and reviews for promotion of colleagues is another. It is rare to find a scholar who combines such a sustained personal record of scholarly excellence with a similar record of generosity in assisting others to develop their own careers. In this regard she serves as a model for the type of collaboration and care, as opposed to competition, that sustains high-quality scholarship and teaching programs broadly within fields and institutions over time.

Not surprisingly, Bardsley’s record includes a number of honors, including an invitation to join the Association of Asian Studies Distinguished Speakers Bureau; a Carolina Women’s Center Award, an IAH fellowship, and two Chapman Family Faculty fellowships; a Kenan Senior Faculty Research and Scholarly leave; an Outstanding Faculty Woman Award, and Tanner, Edward Kidder Graham, and Sitterson teaching awards in addition to the honors already mentioned above. She has also held numerous leadership positions within the profession.

Professor Bardsley, we will miss you!


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