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Kären Wigen

Headshot of Kären Wigen

Kären Wigen

Professor of History
Frances and Charles Field Professor
Field: 
East Asia
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley (Geography), 1990
M.A., University of California at Berkeley, 1985
B.A., University of Michigan (Japanese Lit.), 1980

Kären Wigen teaches Japanese history and the history of cartography at Stanford University.  A geographer by training, she earned her doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley. Her first book, The Making of a Japanese Periphery, 1750-1920 (1995), mapped the economic transformation of southern Nagano Prefecture during the heyday of the silk industry. Her second book, A Malleable Map: Geographies of Restoration in Central Japan, 1600-1912 (2010), returned to the ground of that study, exploring the roles of cartography, chorography, and regionalism in the making of modern Shinano.  An abiding interest in world history led her to co-author The Myth of Continents (1997) with Martin Lewis. She also introduced a forum on oceans in history for the American Historical Review and co-edited Seascapes: Maritime Histories, Littoral Cultures, and Transoceanic Exchanges (2007) with Jerry Bentley and Renate Bridenthal. Her latest project is another collaboration, Cartographic Japan: A History in Maps, with co-editors Sugimoto Fumiko and Cary Karacas (forthcoming 2016).

Selected Publications & Projects

Martin W. Lewis, Kären Wigen
In this thoughtful and engaging critique, geographer Martin W. Lewis and historian Kären Wigen reexamine the basic geographical divisions we take for...