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Department ofHistory

Barbara Molony

Barbara Molony

Walter E. Schmidt, S.J. Professor


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, and imperialism in East Asia. 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 been a co-author of two books that I hope will introduce students at Santa Clara and elsewhere to this view of transnationally integrated history: Civilizations Past and Present (a world history from antiquity to the present, Pearson) and Modern East Asia: An Integrated History (Pearson). I am currently co-authoring with Kathleen Molony Ichikawa Fusae: A Political Biography, and with Janet Theiss and Hyaeweol Choi, Gender in Modern East Asia. I am also co-editing with Jennifer Nelson, What is Feminism? Transnational Activism in the "Second Wave." To contribute to making resources more accessible to researchers and students, I have joined the editorial team for the online data archive, "Women and Empires," Women and Social Movements International, under the direction of Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin. 

My primary research interests at this time are centered on women's rights and the construction and representation of gender. and transnational feminisms. My students in History 150 ("Gender and Sexuality in East Asia") have always been a source of inspiration for new approaches to the themes I love. Some of my recent articles in this area are:

  • "Gender and the Politics of Morality in Japan: A Comparison of the Pre-Suffrage Inter-War Era with the Post-Suffrage 1970s" (forthcoming 2015).
  • "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 have co-edited (with Emiko Ochiai) Asia's New Mothers: Crafting Gender Roles and Childcare Networks in East and Southeast Asian Societies (Global Oriental, 2008) and (with Kathleen Uno) Gendering Modern Japanese History (Harvard, 2005). I enjoy helping to review the contributions of other scholars in the field by serving as Associate Editor of the US-Japan Women's Journal.

Before turning to focus on women's and gender history, I did research in the area of technology and imperialism, and published several articles and one book,Technology and Investment in the Prewar Japanese Chemical Industry (Harvard, 1990).

O'Connor Hall 20
Curriculum vitae
Curriculum vitae

In The News

August 1, 2019

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


    Modern East Asia: An Integrated History

    Civilizations Past and Present

    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