October 3, 2022

Dr Joshua Batts joins the Aftermath project

Dr Joshua Batts has joined the Aftermath project team as a postdoctoral researcher. He is a historian of encounter in the early modern world, specialising in Japan’s engagement and estrangement with other societies. He obtained his PhD from Columbia University in 2017, and continued his research for two years as a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at the Historiographical Institute, University of Tokyo. From 2019-2022 he worked as a Research Associate in Japanese Studies at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge.

Dr. Batts is currently completing revisions on his monograph Pacific Overtures: Tokugawa-Habsburg Relations and the Limits of Diplomacy, 1600–1625 (currently under review). The work explores Tokugawa Japan’s attempts to establish direct, trans-Pacific trade with Spanish America in the early seventeenth century, and Habsburg Spain’s efforts to stymie the endeavor across three continents.

His developing research maintains a focus on Japan’s external relations while integrating questions of how authorities structured order within the realm. On the Aftermath Project Dr Batts will investigate how the Imjin War contributed to the ensuing “Tokugawa Peace” that held in Japan by shaping the administration and oversight of resources, human and mineral alike. One vein of this work explores how Japanese authorities sought to maximise silver output through importation of technologies and expertise from the Korean Peninsula and the Spanish Empire. Another vein explores how daimyo assembly and mobilisation for the invasion of Korea contributed to socialisation and governance. These ideas support Dr. Batts’ next monograph-length project on mining and minting in Tokugawa Japan, a study that will similarly intertwine the influence of foreign communities and technologies and the nascent shogunate’s approach to domestic governance and accountability.