PERSONAL: Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University of Wisconsin—Madison, B.A., 1969; attended University of Kyoto, 1971–72; University of Chicago, M.A., 1973, Ph.D., 1979; attended University of Tokyo, 1975–77.
CAREER: University of Utah, Salt Lake City, assistant professor, 1979–86, associate professor of history, 1986–91; University of California, Irvine, professor of history, 1991–, director of study center in Tokyo, 1993–95, president's fellow in humanities, 1995–96. Visiting associate professor, Duke University, 1987, and Brown University, 1990; visiting professor, University of Michigan, winter, 1997, Ochanomizu University, spring, 2000, and International Christian University, spring, 2005.
AWARDS, HONORS: Fulbright fellowship, 1981–82; grants from Northeast Asia Council, Association for Asian Studies, 1984, 1986; Social Science Research Council, grant, 1986, fellowship, 1995–96; grant, Stanford East Asian Collection, 1989; fellow, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2000–01.
Social Protest and Popular Culture in Eighteenth-Century Japan, University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 1986.
Peasant Uprisings in Japan: A Critical Anthology of Peasant Histories, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1991.
The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1998.
(Editor) The Human Tradition in Modern Japan, SR Books (Wilmington, DE), 2002.
(With Patricia Ebrey and James Palais) East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2005.
Japan: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2005.
Contributor to book-length studies, including the microfilm publication The Ethics of Protest by Commoners in Late Eighteenth-Century Japan, 1979. Contributor to journals, including American Historical Review, Journal of Social History, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.
SIDELIGHTS: Anne Walthall focuses primarily on early modern and modern Japanese history, and much of her published work examines the Japanese peasant class and their protests during this time. She examines the protests not only in the context of what they achieved and did not achieve, but how the protests reflect peasant thought, strategies, and popular culture.
Walthall's published work includes Social Protest and Popular Culture in Eighteenth-Century Japan. William W. Kelly, in an American Historical Review book review, called that book "distinctive and significant" because of its large amount of contemporary scholarly research and the writings on the Tokugawa peasant protests. Kelly also wrote that, by addressing the issue of how the uprisings were remembered orally and then written, Walthall focuses on "a neglected but pervasive characteristic" of the protests. Kelly further noted that "Walthall's rich descriptions are most striking for the multiple motives and fluid social composition of protest" in the decade her book covers.
In addition to the role class played in peasant conflict, Walthall also focuses on the motives behind the protests and the organization and strategy of the uprisings. She also treats the role commercialization played in redefining the peasant culture. Jeffrey Broadbend, in Contemporary Sociology, observed that Social Protest and Popular Culture, is more than merely a history of the topic; in the book, Walthall also offers an interpretation of commoner protest. However, Broadbend also notes: Walthall's role as an historian causes her to neglect breaking long narratives into pieces more worthy of demonstrating her points.
The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration is the first English version of Matsuo Taseko's biography. Taseko became an influential political activist following her involvement with the nativist movement (a radical group that revered the Japanese emperor) in Japan during the 1800s. Due to the complicated nature of Japanese history during this time, several references in the book are hard to understand, noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer. However, the commentator also described this first English-language biography of Taseko as "meticulously researched."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, June, 1987, William W. Kelly, review of Social Protest and Popular Culture in Eighteenth-Century Japan, p. 724.
Contemporary Sociology, May, 1987, Jeffrey Broad-bend, review of Social Protest and Popular Culture in Eighteenth-Century Japan, pp. 309-311.
Publishers Weekly, November 2, 1998, review of The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration, p. 58.
University of California Web site: Anne Walthall Home Page, http://www.hnet.uci.edu/history/faculty/walthall (July 18, 1999).