Past Event

Book Talk with Jessamyn Abel, Author of "Dream Super-Express"

October 9, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
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420 W 118th St, International Affairs Building Room 918

Speaker: Jessamyn Abel, Associate Professor in Asian Studies, Pennsylvania State University

Discussant: Takuya TsunodaAssistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

Moderator: Ariana King, Senior Communications Coordinator, Weatherhead East Asian Institute

A symbol of the "new Japan" displayed at World's Fairs, depicted in travel posters, and celebrated as the product of a national spirit of innovation, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen—the first bullet train, dubbed the "dream super-express"—represents the bold aspirations of a nation rebranding itself after military defeat, but also the deep problems caused by the unbridled postwar drive for economic growth. At the dawn of the space age, how could a train become such an important symbol? In Dream Super-Express (Stanford University Press, 2022), Jessamyn Abel contends that understanding the various, often contradictory, images of the bullet train reveals how infrastructure operates beyond its intended use as a means of transportation to perform cultural and sociological functions.

This event is sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.

Attendees will receive a discount code to purchase the book at a reduced rate.


  • To attend this event in person, please register here
  • To attend this event online, please register here.


Learn more about the Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute here.

Contact Information

Ariana King