College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Eric C. Rath, Ph.D.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - History
Professor
Ph.D., Premodern Japanese History, University of Michigan
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 3624
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045


My specialization is in premodern Japanese cultural history particularly "traditional" dietary cultures. As a historian, I am interested in how groups, institutions, and governments attempt to designate normative practices by appealing to what is identified as “tradition,” the dynamic array of customs, familial claims, rituals, and artifacts, which are created, repurposed and displayed in exercises of power by professions and to serve the ideology of the state. Scholars have viewed “tradition” as a product of the rise of the modern nation. However, my training as a historian of premodern Japan enables me to investigate in the longue durée how the invention of tradition is part of a longer historical strategy in the construction of authority. My research documents the development of arts, ideas, and customs synonymous with national culture today and I endeavor to restore contingency, change, conflict, and heterogeneity into these otherwise hegemonic narratives of “tradition.” I am currently writing a book on the history of food in Japan and the chapter on medieval culture for the New Cambridge History of Japan.

At the University of Kansas I teach courses in premodern Japanese history and Japanese dietary cultures including "History of Sushi" and "Beer, Sake, and Tea: Beverages in Japanese History."

Education

Ph.D., Premodern Japanese History, University of Michigan

M.A., Japanese History, University of Michigan

B.A., History, Skidmore College

Teaching Interests

  • Premodern Japan
  • Japanese dietary cultures
  • Tibet

Research Interests

  • Premodern Japan
  • Japanese dietary cultures

Selected Publications

Rath, E. (2016). Japan's Cuisines: Food, Place and Identity, London: Reaktion Books.

Rath, E. C. (2016). Hell's Kitchen and the Joy of Cooking: Culinary Themes in Kumano Mandala. Impressions, 106-127.

Rath, E. C. (2015). The Magic of Japanese Rice Cakes. In C. Helstosky (Ed.), Routledge History of Food (pp. 3-18). New York: Routledge Press.

Rath, E. C. (2015). The Invention of Local Food. In J. Farrer (Ed.), The Globalization and Asian Cuisine: Transnational Networks and Culinary Contact Zones (pp. 145-64). Palgrave Macmillan Publishers.

Goldstein, D. & Rath, E. (Eds.). (2015). Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets (D. Goldstein & E. Rath, Eds.). Oxford University Press.

Rath, E. C. (2015). Sex and Sea Bream: Food and Prostitution in Hishikawa Moronobu’s 'A Visit to the Yoshiwara'. In . (Ed.), Seduction: Japan's Floating World: The John C. Weber Collection ed. Laura W. Allen (pp. 28-43). San Francisco, CA: Asian Art Museum .

Rath, E. C. (2013). The Tastiest Dish in Edo: Print, Performance, and Culinary Culture in Early Modern Japan. East Asian Publishing and Society, 3(2), 184-214.

Rath, E. C. (2010). Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan, University of California Press.

Rath, E. C. (2010). Japanese Foodways Past and Present (E. C. Rath & S. Assmann, Eds.). University of Illinois Press.

Rath, E. C. (2004). The Ethos of Noh: Actors and Their Art, Harvard University Asia Center Press.

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CEAS Affiliated Faculty


CEAS offers an M.A. program in Contemporary East Asian Studies.This interdisciplinary degree focused on 20th and 21st century East Asia provides students with in-depth interdisciplinary knowledge of a selected East Asian country (China, Korea, Japan); a broad knowledge of modern East Asia; and social science research skills and methods appropriate to international area studies. For more information click here, or contact Ayako Mizumura, CEAS Assistant Director: ceasma@ku.edu or 785-864-1478.

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