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Project Start: Global History and the Meiji Restoration

07. Okt. 2014

HCTS-Professor Harald Fuess at Heidelberg University is embarking with about 50 colleagues on a tri-continental multi-year research project with several conferences planned in Germany (Heidelberg), the United States (Wake Forest, Yale) and Japan (Kyoto, Tokyo).

The overarching aims are two-fold. First to rethink how the Japanese experience contributes to a new understanding of the historiographical enterprise of global history, which has developed in recent years, but despite all Western efforts to reach beyond the traditional remit still takes Europe as its core concern and pillar of reference. Second, the organisers want to reconsider the practices of writing Japanese history in both Japan and abroad by re-connecting the interpretation of its development to the modernizing experiences of other countries.

The concrete starting point for the ongoing discussions will be the Meiji Restoration in a Global Context to explore broader historical questions: (1) Why is it that almost around the same time in the world similar nation-state unification processes were at work and what is the role of this larger world in the Meiji Restoration not only as a political event but as a trigger to broader social and cultural transformations? (2) The Meiji Restoration was a key turning point in political history but how disruptive or transformative was its impact on the Edo-Meiji transition? To what extent did Japan experience a more continuous "long nineteenth century" as has been claimed for other countries?

International workshops and conferences on the Meiji Restoration in a Global Context will take place in

  • Heidelberg, Germany, 7 October 2014
  • Wake Forest, USA, 30-31 January 2015
  • Heidelberg, Germany, 3-5 July 2015
  • Yale, USA, Fall 2016
  • Kyoto, Japan, 2017
  • Tokyo, Japan, 2018

Prof. Harald Fuess, PhD (Harvard), at Heidelberg organizes the Meiji Restoration project with Prof. Daniel Botsman at Yale and Prof. Robert Hellyer at Wake Forest.

The project is supported by the Toshiba International Foundation.


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