National Pavilions for International Consumption: Japan as Case Study | Lecture by Alice Y. Tseng

Historic photo of Japan

New Perspectives on National Pavilions at World Fairs: The Institute for the Study of International Expositions (ISIE) Lecture Series


January 26, 2023 4:00pm to 5:00pm

4-5 p.m. MT

The Institute for the Study of International Expositions (ISIE) presents its 2023 Speaker Series: New Perspectives on National Pavilions at World Fairs, which focuses on country/region-specific presentations and representations at past world fairs. The ISIE Speaker Series Inaugural Lecture will be held online via Zoom (with previous registration required).

The goal of the series is to share and support exposition scholarship across disciplines and to provide the opportunity to exchange ideas with everyone interested in international expositions, from scholars, researchers, participants, and developers to those who cherish the memory of having visited one.


Send your name and email address to You will receive confirmation and a Zoom link will be emailed to you approximately 48 hours before the lecture.

About the Speaker and Lecture

The inaugural lecture, “National Pavilions for International Consumption: Japan as Case Study,” will be presented by Alice Y. Tseng, professor of history of art & architecture and associate dean of the Faculty for the Humanities at Boston University. She specializes in the art, architecture and visual culture of Japan from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Her most recent book is Modern Kyoto: Building for Ceremony and Commemoration, 1868-1940.

Tseng’s presentation examines serial performances of ideas of a unified nation, culture, and race in Japan’s exhibition architecture. The variety, rather than coherence, of architectural representation during these decades demonstrates the plurality of sources and means for defining Japanese unity. The presentation’s coda offers a long look at Japanese national pavilion design since 1940 to today, noting continuing efforts to materialize Japanese culture, authenticity and tradition writ large through architecture.


About ISIE

The Institute for the Study of International Expositions is a new global interdisciplinary network of researchers interested in the design, promotion, reception and consequence of the world’s fairs and expositions held since 1851. Though rooted in the history of architecture, science, diplomacy, art and technology, our members hail from many disciplines and we welcome the participation of all those interested in exploring the many intersecting aspects of international expositions. Our first major event, the online symposium International Expositions: Looking to the Past, Seeing the Future, held this past March, was attended by over 75 people from more than 15 countries.This event served as a wonderful launching pad.

Visit the ISIE website for a series of new initiatives currently in the works, including an upcoming publication from the symposium, evolving the ISIE website into a valuable networking and disseminating tool for those involved in researching and planning international expositions, and the speaker series.

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