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New issue of "The Journal of Transcultural Studies" online

Jan 09, 2019

The latest (double) issue of the Cluster's e-journal, "The Journal of Transcultural Studies", continues the exploration of novel interdisciplinary formats. It features five essays, which focus on local activity as well as on complex networks and linkages between states as inextricably linked to transcultural exchanges.

The Journal of Transcultural Studies is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal committed to promoting research on transculturality. Launched in 2010, it is published by the Cluster of Excellence, "Asia and Europe in a Global Context: The Dynamics of Transculturality" at the Heidelberg University and hosted by heiUP.

You can find the current issue here.

The first three articles focus on the transformations that East Asia faced on various levels following its inclusion into the wider socio-political arena of the time. The fourth essay looks at the relationship between literature and idealism in a war context, while the last one tackles the possible methodological approaches to an academic subject of new interest.


  • Douglas Howland: "Territorial Foundations of the Sovereign State in East Asia."
    This essay examines processes through which governments in East Asia began to solidify their territorial foundations. Key to the transformation of Japan and China into European state forms was the legal connection between state and territory, a relationship made explicit in the bilateral treaties that Japan and China signed with the foreign powers in the nineteenth century. That the processes of state formation ensued differently in China and Japan underlines the point that a state is not a natural agent in an international world of states, but rather a set of historically contingent practices.
  • Wynn Gadkar-Wilcox: "Universality, Modernity, and Cultural Borrowing among Vietnamese Intellectuals, 1877–1919."
    This article investigates how Vietnamese ideas about Europe, and about technology associated with European powers, were filtered through Chinese sources. Even through the 1910s and 1920s, decades into the era of French imperialism in Indochina, Vietnamese intellectuals still looked to their Chinese (and sometimes Indian) counterparts not only for strategies for coping with the presence of Europeans but also for their understanding of the history of Western culture and technology. The author focuses on how the relationship between Vietnamese intellectuals and their canonical texts changed over time.
  • Joshua Van Lieu: "Korean Translations of Vietnam: Relocating the Korean Great Han Empire in World Historical Precedent."
    This article retraces the vicissitudes of the popular Korean-language translations of Yuenan wangguo shi (“The history of the fall of Vietnam”) by Vietnamese independence activist Phan Boi Chau (1867–1940). Though the Korean translators intended to use the source to mobilize their readers against Japanese aggression and avoid the kind of humiliation that the Vietnamese were suffering, the translation was banned by the Home Ministry in 1909. The events connected to the circulation of the text were relevant in that they revealed a hybrid sense of situating national/regional history in the context of global currents and history.
  • Susanna Fessler: "Anesaki Masaharu’s Reception of Leo Tolstoy and His Failed Attempt at Finding the Faith."
    In her paper, Fessler looks at how Japanese intellectual Anesaki Masaharu (1873–1949) turned to Leo Tolstoy’s essay “Count Tolstoy on the War: ‘Bethink Yourselves” – banned by the Russian authorities
    to promote his own vision of individual spirituality and make a public statement against the war. While Tolstoy was a proponent of Christian anarchism, Masaharu found in his arguments support for his own view of the Russo–Japanese War as a testing ground for a universal spirituality.
  • Sophie Roche: "Knowledge Production on Central Asia: Transcultural Approaches in Central Asian Studies."
    In the context of the nineteenth-century relations between Russia and England, Central Asia became a subject of systematic knowledge production. Roche´s article explores the main approaches to the subject, from former imperial paradigms to more contemporary transcultural approaches. What emerges from her analysis is the need to embrace a multi-disciplinary path, which takes into account the cultural mosaic of the region, characterized by the coexistence of various linguistic groups and religious orientations.


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