Sheldon GaronDr. Sheldon Garon, Nissan Professor of Japanese Studies and history at Princeton University, will deliver two lectures at UTC based on his most recent research.  “Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves” will be presented Monday, September 8 from 4:30-6 p.m. and “On the Transnational Destruction of Cities: What Japan and the U.S. learned from the Bombing of Britain and Germany in World War II” will be presented Tuesday, September 9, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Both lectures will be held in the Signal Mountain Room, located on the third floor of the UTC University Center.

The lectures are free and open to the public.

A specialist in modern Japanese history, Garon also writes transnational history that spotlights the flow of ideas and institutions among the U.S., Japan, and European and Asian countries.

His recent book, Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves has received global media attention. He has spoken recently at the OECD, Federal Reserve Bank, JP Morgan Chase, and European Savings Banks Group.

If the 2008 financial crisis has taught us anything, it is that Americans save too little, spend too much, and borrow excessively.  How did Americans come to be such miserable savers, and what might they learn from Japan and European countries that have fostered enduring cultures of saving while often restraining consumption and credit?

Drawing from his book, Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves (2012), Garon tells the story of how states in Japan and Europe actively shaped popular savings habits over the past two centuries by means of savings campaigns, postal savings systems, and other institutions for small savers.  The lecture is illustrated by evocative savings campaign posters from around the world.

Garon will also presentOn the Transnational Destruction of Cities: What Japan and the U.S. Learned from the Bombing of Britain and German in World War II.

How did it become “normal” to bomb cities and civilians?  Focusing on the aerial bombardment of Japan in 1945, Garon explains that not only did each power seek to destroy the enemy’s home front and civilian morale, but they also studied each other’s efforts to defend their own civilians from the air war.  It was Japan’s fate to suffer the war’s most lethal firebombing, based on what Germans and Allies had learned by bombing the enemy’s cities.

Previous publications by Garon include The State and Labor in Modern Japan; Molding Japanese Minds: The State in Everyday Life; and the co-edited The Ambivalent Consumer: Questioning Consumption in East Asia and the West.

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