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Inaugural Lecture by Christian Förster

May 26, 2015

Prof. Dr. Christian Förster gave his inaugural lecture on May 27 in the main auditorium of Heidelberg University. The Professor for Transcultural Studies spoke about the topic "Collateral Damage – Ersatzansprüche koreanischer Soldaten gegen US-amerikanische „Agent Orange“-Hersteller".

In his lecture, Prof. Förster addressed jurisdiction in Korea and the USA in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. The horrible images of the Vietnam War literally have burned themselves into the collective memory because of the extensive use of the defoliant Agent Orange. However, it is far less known that South Korean soldiers and their descendants constitute the third largest group of victims after the Vietnamese population and US veterans. Quite recently now the Korean Supreme Court in a remarkable decision has awarded damages following veterans' claims against former US-American manufacturers. In their own country on the other hand they always were and still are protected by a specific indemnity clause.

Prof. Dr. Christian Förster is Start-Up Professor of Transcultural Studies with a focus on the social sciences at the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context". He studied law and Japanese studies in Tübingen, Kyoto and Osaka and habilitated from the Faculty of Law at University of Tübingen. Before coming to Heidelberg in 2014, he held substitute professorships in Bonn, Dresden, Frankfurt/Main and Freiburg and worked in a law office. In his research, he employs on the one hand a transcultural perspective to examine Western legal systems, especially Germany, as origin and model, compared to Eastern legal systems (Japan, South Korea and China). On the other hand he applies a multilateral approach to study the inner-Asian interrelations and differences in their reception and transformation of foreign legal thought. His research interests are for example legal solutions for pressing economic and societal concerns (e.g. nuclear energy, mass transport, border disputes), political agendas underlying national judicature, and the concept as well as specific questions of liability.

The inaugural lecture by Prof. Förster took place on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in the main auditorium "Alte Aula" of the University of Heidelberg (Grabengasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg). It started at 12:15 pm and was followed by a reception in the Bel Etage.


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  • Prof. Christian Förster giving his inaugural lecture

  • Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy Prof. Gerrit Kloss introduced Prof. Förster