The Impact of David Plath on Japanese Studies
Special Issue of Studies on Asia
Online Journal of the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs
Deadline: Saturday, June 10, 2023
Contact: Susan Long at

Often, death provides an opportunity to rethink the life of the deceased. In the case of the death of a scholar, it is also a chance to reexamine the corpus of that person’s work and to consider the broad impact it has had on the field. Following the death of anthropologist and East Asianist David W. Plath in November 2022, several short memorium pieces have been published (Kelly 2023, Yano 2022, Long 2023) and a roundtable on his work was held at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Association of Asian Studies. It is clear that Professor Plath was widely appreciated for his character and admired for his research and teaching. He has left us a body of work in print and in film that represents a substantial contribution to East Asian anthropology and beyond.

The journal Studies on Asia plans to devote a special issue exploring Plath’s impact on a multidisciplinary group of scholars, to be published in late 2024 or early 2025. The final shape of the issue will depend on the submissions received, but we envision that some articles might directly analyze Plath’s contribution to a specific field, subfield, or intellectual current, for examples, ethnographic filmmaking, life course studies, or the study of leisure. Other articles might illustrate Plath’s influence on the author by writing an original article based on his or her own research. Since publication is online, it may be possible to include photographs or video clips, along with live links. Taken together, the special issue will testify to numerous ways Professor Plath’s innovative thinking and commitment to the humanity of all people have influenced the work of others and will continue to have an impact in the future.

If you are interested in contributing to this project, please send a brief abstract or description of interest to Susan Long at by SaturdayJune 10, 2023.

References cited
Kelly, William W. 2023. David William Plath (1930-2022). Asia Now. Association for Asian Studies. February 8. Accessed April 29. 2023

Long, Susan Orpett.  2023.  Anthropologist David W. Plath: An Extraordinary Scholar
Who Saw the Extraordinary in All of Us. Studies on Asia.  Forthcoming, May, 2023.

Yano, Christine. 2022. In Memoriam of David Plath (1930-2022). Society for East Asian Anthropology. American Anthropological Association. November 19.  Accessed April 29, 2023.