Why Asia?

We are Glenn and Carol Webb. We are retired academics, now living in Palm Desert, CA, in the place shown just above our picture. We have spent most of our lives studying Asia, with Kyoto, Japan as our port of call. This blog consists primarily of essays, written by me, Glenn Taylor Webb, with the input of my wife, Carol St. John Webb. I began writing most of these essays just before we retired. Some have been published, some not. Most were first presented as lectures.

Our lives were changed by what what we experienced living in two cultures. The different ways of thinking about almost everything in Japan (and Asia in general) made us examine some of our fundamental views of life. As a history professor I had to keep a certain distance between historical events and their effects. But at this stage in my life (I'm 75) I feel like sharing with friends the impact that Japan today has had on my family as well as myself. I'm still writing things down. So take a look and let me know what you think.


Saturday, February 27, 2010


Resume of Dr. Glenn T. Webb

Glenn T. Webb is a professor of East Asian cultural and religious history, with a specialization in early modern Japan (16th-17th-century Momoyama-early Edo.)

He was born in 1935 in southwestern Oklahoma near the Ft. Sill Artillery base, and attended public schools there. From age 3 to 17 he studied classical piano locally under Rose Mayo Partlow and at Julliard under Rosanna Levine. (Dr. Daisetsu Suzuki, who inspired Dr. Webb’s interest in Asian studies and later became a mentor at Kyoto University, attended one of his New York recitals.)

At Abilene Christian University in Texas, he met and married Carol St. John in 1955, and in 1957, he graduated with a BA in art and religion. His mentors at Abilene were Norman Whitefield, Juanita Tittle, and Paul Rotenberry. In 1958 he attended the Art Institute of Chicago on scholarship, where his main teachers were Helen Gardener and Boris Margo. For the next four years, funded by National Defense Foreign Language grants, he was a graduate student and lecturer in the Art History and East Asian Studies program at the University of Chicago, and attended intensive Japanese language training one summer at Columbia University, under Donald Keene. His Chicago mentors were Harrie Vanderstappen, Joseph Kitagawa, Edwin McClellan and Paul Tillich. After taking his Master’s degree, Dr. Webb received a Fulbright Scholarship to do doctoral work at Kyoto University, where his research was guided by Professors Suzuki, Hisamatsu Shin’inchi, Masao Abe, Hasumi Shigeyasu, Mori Toru, Sawa Ryuken, and Doi Tsuigiyoshi.

In 1966 Dr. Webb received a joint-appointment to the University of Washington’s School of Art and Jackson School of International Studies, where he co-directed the Center for Asian Arts and Kyoto Program. In 1970 he received his doctorate from the University of Chicago, and published his first book, based on Noma Seiroku’s study of Late Medieval and Early Modern Japanese Art. The Webbs made Seattle their home during 1966-1987, but Dr. Webb spent part of almost each year in Kyoto (often accompanied by his wife and sons), where he taught, did research, and trained in Buddhist temples. (Dr. Webb established the Seattle Zen Center at the University of Washington, and he and Mrs. Webb both practiced chanoyu at the Urasenke estate in Kyoto, where they are accredited as teachers.)

In 1987 Dr. and Mrs. Webb moved to Malibu, California , where he became the director of the Institute for the Study of Asian Cultures (ISAC) at Pepperdine University, which offers courses in Chinese and Japanese language, history, literature and religion. While there Dr. Webb invited many representatives of Asian governments and religions in Southern California to speak on campus. Even after the Webbs retired from Pepperdine in 2004 and moved to Palm Desert, CA, they have continued to maintain their connection with the academic institutions, and cultural and social organizations they served for so many years.

1 comment:

  1. dear Dr Webb, i found your very interesting profile/blogspot while google-searching my great-aunt Rose Partlow. i was thrilled to bits to see you credited her as your piano instructor here. Thank you!