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Keynote Lecture by Madeleine Herren-Oesch

Jul 03, 2015

Swiss-Japanese diplomacy was the topic of a keynote lecture by former Cluster director Prof. Madeleine Herren-Oesch. It took place at the Alte Aula, Heidelberg, on July 3 at 6 pm as part of a conference on global history and the Meiji Restoration. The event was organised by Prof. Harald Fuess.

The lecture was titled "Under the Magnifying Glass of Global History: the case of Swiss-Japanese Diplomacy". Prof. Herren-Oesch used the topic of Swiss-Japanese diplomacy to present the emerging research field of "global history" and its tools. Official contacts between Japan and Switzerland started in the early 1860s. In their relationship, a new, multilayered and multifunctional system of diplomacy surfaced that is interpreted as the beginning of a new power setting. The economically successful establishment and maintenance of trade relations mirrors the cultivation of new forms of diplomatic relations: For the Swiss, the diplomatic relations to Japan granted access to the Asian market without imperial claims or the establishment of a formal diplomatic apparatus. The approach of global history enables scholars to analyze these multilayered semi-official agencies, as Prof. Herren-Oesch showed in her presentation.

Prof. Madeleine Herren-Oesch is currently heading the Institute for European Global Studies at the University of Basel. From 2007 to 2012, she was the director of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context".

The lecture "Under the Magnifying Glass of Global History: the case of Swiss-Japanese Diplomacy" took place at the Alte Aula of Heidelberg University on July 3 at 6 pm. The event constituted one of the keynote lectures at the international conference "Global History and the Meiji Restoration" which takes place at the Karl Jaspers Centre from July 3 to 5. The event is organised by Prof. Harald Fuess. It is the second of three international conferences 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".


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  • Stamps commemorating the establishment of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan in 1864 (Swiss Post)