G Clinton Godart

Assistant Professor of History, East Asian Languages & Cultures, and Religion

Contact Information
E-mail: godart@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-1657
Office: SOS 153



  • B.A. Philosophy (Candidate) and Japanese Studies, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, 1999
  • M.A. Japanese Studies, graduated maxima cum laude, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, 2002
  • M.A. Japanese Studies, Osaka University, 2004
  • Ph.D. History, University of Chicago, 2009

  • Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

    Tenure Track Appointments
    • Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, 2011-  

    PostDoctoral Appointments
    • Sasakawa Foundation Research and Teaching Fellow, University of Cambridge & Needham Research Institute, 09/2009-06/2011  

    Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    I was trained originally in philosophy, and in Chicago received my PhD in history, where I also studied the history of science. My research concerns the intellectual history of modern Japan, and I am particularly interested in the hybrid zones where science, religion, and philosophy meet, and stand in tension. My previous research involved the history of Buddhism in the nineteenth century, especially the way Buddhists engaged with Western philosophy, and how Japanese intellectuals reacted to foreign categories of knowledge. I have also written on the development of philosophy of biology in Japan. I am currently working on a book manuscript, provisionally titled "Darwin and Japan's Modernity: Evolutionary Theory in Japanese Intellectual Life." This work explores the introduction, reception, and the manifold uses of, and debates on, evolutionary theory in Japan, by biologists, philosophers, ideologues, Buddhists, Christians, socialists, and anarchists, from the 1860's until the postwar period. In addition, I am making the first steps for two projects: firstly, the history of the relations between religion and science in modern Japan, and secondly, the intellectual biography and influence of Ishiwara Kanji (1889-1949), an influential army general and Buddhist thinker, which involves the broader issues of the Asia-Pacific War, the U.S. occupation of Japan, and the theory of utopianism.
    Research Specialties
    Modern Japanese History, Intellectual History of Japan, History of Science, Buddhism in Modern Japan

    Conferences and Other Presentations

    Conference Presentations
    • ""Showa Utopianism: Ishiwara Kanji and the East-Asia League" (in Japanese)", Meiji University-USC Research Exchange, January 25, 2011, Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Spring 2012   
    • "Evolutionary Theory in Modern Japanese Intellectual HIstory (In Japanese, Nihon kindai shisōshi ni okeru shinkaron)", Talk/Oral Presentation, Paper, Osaka University, Invited, Spring 2011   
    • "Darwin in Japan", Talk/Oral Presentation, Chaucer College, Kent, UK, Invited, Fall 2010   
    • "Evolutionary Theory and the State in Early Shōwa Japan (1930-1945)", "Science and the State in Asia" , Talk/Oral Presentation, Abstract, Needham Research Institute, Cambridge, England, Invited, Fall 2010   
    • ""Overcoming Modernity, Overcoming Darwin"", Talk/Oral Presentation, Oxford University, Invited, Spring 2010   
    • "Darwin in Japan: Reflections on Science and Ideology ", Talk/Oral Presentation, Sokendai University, Japan, Invited, Spring 2010   
    • "Transmission of Science as Construction: The Import of Darwinism in Meiji Japan ", "Genealogies of Science in Asia: Cross-Cultural Appropriation", Talk/Oral Presentation, Abstract, Needham Research Institute, Cambridge, England, Invited, Fall 2009   
    • "Darwin in Japan", Talk/Oral Presentation, University of Virginia, Invited, Spring 2009   
    • "Buddhism in the Age of Science", Seventh Annual Japan at Chicago Conference: "Buddhism and Japan’s Modern", Talk/Oral Presentation, Paper, The University of Chicago, Invited, Fall 2008   
    • "Oka Asajirō, Japan’s Pioneer in the Philosophy of Biology and Evolutionary Theory (In Japanese, Oka Asajirō, Kindai nihon no seibutsugaku/ shinkaron no tetsugaku no senkusha")", Forum for Japanese Philosophy, Talk/Oral Presentation, Paper, Kyoto University, Japan, Invited, 2007-2008   
    • "The Problem of Japanese Philosophy: Some Reflections on the Meiji Period (in Japanese)", Techny Conference on the Sourcebook for Japanese Philosophy, Roundtable/Panel, Nanzan Institute for Japanese Religion, Invited, Fall 2007   


    Book Chapter
    • Godart, G. C. (2011). "Inoue Enryo" (Introduction and translation). Japanese Philosophy: A Sourcebook Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
    • Godart, G. C. (2011). "Inoue Tetsujiro" (Introduction and translation). Japanese Philosophy: A Sourcebook Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.

    Journal Article
    • Godart, G. C. (2012). "Tezuka Osamu’s Circle of Life: Vitalism, Evolution, and Buddhism" (accepted for publication). Mechademia. Vol. 8
    • Godart, G. C. (2008). ""Philosophy" or "Religion"? The Confrontation with Foreign Categories in Late Nineteenth Century Japan". Journal of the History of Ideas. Vol. 69 (1), pp. 71-91.
    • Godart, G. C. (2007). "From Moss Animals to Philosophy: Oka Asajiro, Modern Japan’s pioneer in the Philosophy of Biology and Evolutionary Theory" ("Kokemushi kara tetsugaku made: seibutsugaku, shinkaron no tetsugaku no senkusha toshite no Oka Asajiro"). Nihon tetsugakushi kenkyu. Vol. 4, pp. 75-99.
    • Godart, G. C. (2004). "Tracing the Circle of Truth: Inoue Enryo on the History of Philosophy and Buddhism". The Eastern Buddhist. Vol. XXXVI, pp. 106-133.

    Honors and Awards

    • British Academy Research Grant, 2010  
    • Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Grant, 2010  
    • Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship (declined), 2009-2010   
    • University of Chicago Century Fellowship, 2004-2009  
    • Japan Foundation Fellowship, 2006-2007   
    • Monbusho Scholarship, 2002-2004  

  • Department of History
  • 3502 Trousdale Parkway
  • Social Sciences Building (SOS) 153
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 90089-0034