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HCTS Lecture by Simon Partner

Jan 19, 2016

Prof. Simon Partner gave the HCTS lecture with the title "Media, Visual Culture, Performance: Contesting and Creating "Japan" in 1860's Yokohama". The talk took place on Thursday, January 28, at the Karl Jaspers Centre. It was hosted by the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS).

After the opening of Yokohama under the foreign trade treaties of 1858-9, Japanese and foreigners alike flocked to this new space of economic opportunity. The glamorous and exotic new port town was the subject of intense media coverage in Japan and throughout the world. Yokohama was represented through magazine articles, memoirs, travel guides, photographs, woodblock prints, works of art and curios, international exhibits, and traveling performances. During the course of the 1860s, both Japanese and foreign commercial artists produced overlapping, but also competing, representations of Yokohama, Japan, and Japan's place in the world. Japan itself was undergoing radical political upheavals, leading by the end of the decade to a new government with an aggressive agenda of centralization, modernization, and military expansion. This talk will explore the role of Yokohama's commercial culture in creating national consciousness and international awareness of a "Japan" brand that in many ways remains with us to this day.

Prof. Simon Partner received a prestigious Humboldt Prize to spend a year of research at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS), where he stays from spring 2015 to spring 2016. He is Professor at the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences of Duke University. Besides publishing three important monographs in Japanese social and economic history with California University Press, he also co-authored a book on the urban history of the American South.

The talk took place on January 28, from 4 to 6 pm at the Karl Jaspers Centre in Heidelberg. The event was part of the HCTS lecture series, that brings scholars working on topics related to transcultural studies to Heidelberg.

The Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS), founded in 2013, is a central institute of Heidelberg University. Building on the structures established by the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context", it assembles outstanding scholars from all over the world and from any discipline to engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue with a focus on the dynamics of global transcultural processes.


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