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Department ofHistory

Barbara Molony

Barbara Molony

Walter E. Schmidt, S.J. Professor

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

  • O'Connor Hall 20
  • Email
  • 408-554-4433

My teaching and research interests focus on modern Japan and its global connections. I currently teach courses on medieval as well as modern Japan; women and gender in China, Japan, and Korea; the intersection of race and imperialism in East Asia; and a multi-national, multi-cultural seminar on gender and rights in the modern era. I encourage students to think about transnational issues such as religion, race, class, modernity, sexuality, the environment, citizenship and nationality, human rights, ideology, construction of masculinities and femininities, and technology. I am committed to drawing conceptual linkages between Japan and the world (especially Northeast Asia) and have therefore co-authored books that I hope will introduce students at Santa Clara and elsewhere to transnationally integrated and intersectional histories: Civilizations Past and Present (Pearson), Modern East Asia: An Integrated History (Pearson), and with Janet Theiss and Hyaeweol Choi, Gender in Modern East Asia: An Integrated History (Westview). I have also co-edited several accessible collections, including, with Jennifer Nelson, Women’s Activism and “Second Wave” Feminism: Transnational Histories (Bloomsbury); with Eileen Boris and Sandra Trudgen Dawson, Engendering Transnational Transgressions: From the Intimate to the Global (Routledge); with Emiko Ochiai, Asia's New Mothers: Crafting Gender Roles and Childcare Networks in East and Southeast Asian Societies (Global Oriental, now Brill); and with Kathleen Uno, Gendering Modern Japanese History (Harvard).

My primary research interests at this time are centered on women's rights and the construction and representation of gender as well as transnational feminisms. I am thankful to my students for their comments and papers, which have contributed to many of my new research ideas.

Some of my recent articles in these areas are:

  • “Rice Paddles and Pink Helmets—Framing Gendered Resistance in 20th Century Japan” (2022).
  • “Feminism and Gender Construction in Modern Asia” (2020).
  • “Gendering Modern Japanese History: An Historiographical Update” (2019).
  • “Engendering Modern Japanese History through the Lens of Empire” (2017).
  • “Gender and the Politics of Morality in Japan: A Comparison of the Pre-Suffrage Inter-War Era with the Post-Suffrage 1970s” (2017).
  • “From ‘Mothers of Humanity’ to ‘Assisting the Emperor:’ Gendered Belonging in the Wartime Rhetoric of Japanese Feminist Ichikawa Fusae” (2011)
  • “Crossing Boundaries: Transnational Feminisms in Japan, 1900-2008” (2009)
  • “Gender, Citizenship, and Dress in Modernizing Japan” (2007)
  • “Why Should a Feminist Care about What Goes on Behind the Chrysanthemum Curtain? The Imperial Succession Issue as a Metaphor for Women’s Rights” (2005)
  • “Ichikawa Fusae and Japan’s Prewar Women’s Suffrage Movement” (2005)
  • “Citizenship and Suffrage in Interwar Japan” (2004)
  • “Women’s Rights, Feminism, and Suffragism in Japan, 1870-1925” (2000, winner of the Ridge Article Prize, Western Association of Women Historians).

For a complete list of publications, please see my CV.


I’m currently teaching:

HIST 11A/12A
Cultures and Ideas I and II: Across the Pacific
Modern East Asia
HIST 138S/WGST 127
Gender and Rights in the Modern World
Medieval and Early Modern Japan
Modern Japan in the World
HIST 150/WGST 127
Gender and Sexuality in East Asia
HIST 151
Race and Imperialism in East Asia

In The News

June 28, 2023

Barbara Molony wrote an opinion piece on the role women historians plan in preserving history in The Mercury News.

August 1, 2019

Barbara Molony was quoted in the The Cut about the Japanese comedian Naomi Watanabe.


Civilizations Past and Present

Modern East Asia: An Integrated History

molony gender in modern east asia book cover

Gender in Modern East Asia

molony Women's Activism and Second Wave Feminism book cover

Women's Activism and "Second Wave" Feminism: Transnational Histories

molony engendering transnational transgressions book cover

Engendering Transnational Transgressions: From the Intimate to the Global

Asia’s New Mothers: Crafting Gender Roles and Childcare Networks in East and Southeast Asian Societies

Gendering Modern Japanese History

Technology and Investment in the Prewar Japanese Chemical Industry