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International Conference on the Meiji Restoration

Jul 03, 2015

An international conference on "Global History and the Meiji Restoration" took place at the Karl Jaspers Centre from July 3 to 5. The event was part of an international multiyear project on the Meiji Restoration initiated by Yale University, Wake Forest University and the Cluster "Asia and Europe". It was organised by Prof. Harald Fuess. 

At the conference numerous scholars from Asia, Europe and North America discussed various topics around the Meiji Restoration in Japan in 1868. First off, the participants were invited to attend the Cluster's Jour Fixe on the eve of the first day of the conference: Its topic was the history of the Japanese delicacy "Kobe beef" in the context of the social transformations in the late 19th century. Then, each conference day revolved around one topic respectively: The first day of the conference put the Japanese Meiji Restoration in a global context. Most notably, former Cluster director Prof. Madeleine Herren-Oesch gave a keynote lecture on Swiss-Japanese diplomacy. The role of the Emperor was also examined during the first day. Foreign economical and political influences on Japan during the era of the Meiji Restoration were discussed during the second day of the conference. It featured sessions on the era's position in global economic history, on power and diplomacy at the time as well as knowledge circulation. The third day covered shifts in cultural norms and considerations of the nation-state and also included a final wrap-up session.

The first keynote lecture "Under the Magnifying Glass of Global History: the case of Swiss-Japanese Diplomacy", held by Prof. Madeleine Herren Oesch, took place at 6 pm on July 3.

"Global History and a New World History in Japan" by Prof. Masashi Haneda, the second keynote lecture, took place at 6 pm on July 4.

The conference was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Japan Foundation and the Toshiba International Foundation. It was the second of three international events in an international multiyear project to facilitate international and interdisciplinary discussions in advance of the 150-year commemoration of Japan’s Meiji Restoration. The project was initiated by Yale University, Wakeforest University and the Cluster of Excellence "Asia an Europe". The first of the conferences was titled "The Civil Wars of Japan’s Meiji Restoration & National Reconciliation: Global Historical Perspectives". It took place at Wakeforest University from January 30 to 31, 2015. The third conference is planned for 2016 at Yale University.

The event was organised by Prof. Harald Fuess. Prof. Fuess holds the Chair for Cultural Economic History at the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe". His research centres on Japanese history, gender studies and cultural relations between Asia and Europe.

For the detailed programme, please visit the conference website.


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