Beyond Images of Beauty: Women’s Lives in Edo-Period Japan



How did the sex trade transform communities in early modern Japan? Which social and economic forces shaped the lives of the women who worked in pleasure districts such as the Yoshiwara? Join Julie Nelson Davis, co-curator of Inventing Utamaro, and Amy Stanley, professor of history at Northwestern University, to learn about the reality behind the elegant courtesans in Kitagawa Utamaro’s paintings.
Amy Stanley is a historian specializing in early modern and modern Japan, with special interests in women’s/gender history and global history. Her first book, Selling Women: Prostitution, Households, and the Market in Early Modern Japan, explores how an expanding market for sex transformed the Japanese economy and changed women’s lives between 1600 and 1868. Stanley has also written about adultery in the Edo period, education for geisha in the first years of the Meiji era, and the figure of the migrant maidservant in global history.

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