Lorenzo Andolfatto on his new book

Lorenzo Andolfatto, Hundred Days’ Literature: Chinese Utopian Fiction at the End of Empire, 1902–1910 (Brill, 2019).

In Hundred Days’ Literature, Chinese Utopian Fiction at the End of Empire, 1902–1910 (Brill, 2019), Lorenzo Andolfatto explores the landscape of early modern Chinese fiction through the lens of the utopian novel, casting new light on some of its most peculiar yet often overshadowed literary specimens. Listen here to Lorenzo Andolfatto’s presentation of his book.

A counter tour of the British Museum’s Enlightenment Gallery

The gallery presents its collections as a product of an “age of discovery” when Europeans set out to explore new worlds, collect representative objects and, in the process, create new fields of knowledge such as botany, philology and anthropology.  In his talk, Jon Chappell reconsiders the collection by recognising that this was also a European “age of empires” in East and South Asia. for more, see here.

On the Podcast Series “15past15”


Article (in German) about the Podcast Series “15past15”:

Faszination Ostasien

Der Lehrstuhl für Global History der UZH lanciert mit europäischen Partnern eine Podcast-Serie. In knapper Form erhalten Hörerinnen und Hörer vielfältige Einblicke in die Geschichte und Geschichtsschreibung Ostasiens – vom 16. Jahrhundert bis heute…

For more, click here.

History from Between: Global Circulations of the Past in East Asia and Europe

The East Asian Uses of the European Past  project, funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area, in collaboration with the British Library, is proud to announce a one-day conference on 1 April 2019 to discuss the creation of historical knowledge between East Asia and Europe from 1600-1950.

In two thematic panels and two keynote talks, we will explore how ideas about the past circulated and were repurposed within East Asian networks of exchange. Some of the questions we will consider include: how did East Asian actors use their understanding of European expansion to burnish their own colonial aspirations? What does it mean to say the Chinese had a ‘Middle Ages’—originally a way of talking about the history of and for Europeans? How might the maritime narratives of East Asians challenge how the past of cultural others is viewed?

The event will run from 10am-5pm in the British Library Knowledge Centre, with a smaller reception from 5pm-7.30pm. You can register for the day event (10am -5pm) at our  Eventbrite page. There are also a smaller number of tickets available to our evening keynote and drinks reception from 5pm-7.30pm. You can register for this through our separate Eventbrite page.

15past15: podcast on how the past is made, and by whom

15past15 is a new podcast which discusses how the past is made, and by whom. See here (and in iTunes).

Its first season focuses on history and history-writing in East Asia, from the sixteenth century to today. Interviewees debate the indigenous historical traditions of China and Japan in particular, and the ways that understandings of the past evolved at times of acute political and societal change. Our contributors teach East Asian and global history at leading universities in Germany, France, the UK, Spain, Switzerland, the USA and Canada, and they manage—just about—to stick to a fifteen-minute format. Interviews will be released weekly from 15 January 2019. 

15past15 has been made possible by a Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) grant.

MAS Applied history course: “East Asia – Making the Past in Asia”

Representations of the past – as tradition, memory, heritage, and myth – play a central role in the self-definition of cultures, nations and societies. This course analyses how such representations were formed, reshaped, and contested in modern and contemporary East Asia. Our aim is to disentangle the interests, concerns, and anxieties that informed Chinese and Japanese answers to the question of historical continuity since the age of the European expansion. In our joint investigations, we will scrutinize representations of the past in scholarly works, including histories of thought, science, and literature; explore sites of memory and analyze depictions of historical events and personalities. Our discussions will interrogate the different means and media of representing the past, the interests involved in appropriating certain versions of past events or ideas and not others, and the implications of such choices for our understanding of both the past and the present. For more information, see here.

History Books in the Eighteenth Century Eurasian Republic of Letters

Guest Lecture by David Mervart at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context,” Heidelberg University Centre for Transcultural Studies.

By inertia, we continue studying and referring to European and East Asian historiographical “traditions” as if they were separate worlds sealed off from one another. Yet, even prior to 1800s, there had long existed a dense network of textual connections that crisscrossed the urban centers of the old world and new and drew them together in a sort of Eurasian Republic of Letters. On three short case studies I want to document how this traffic in texts affected historiographical production and horizons of historical awareness on both ends of Eurasia in complex ways that are not helpfully described in the language of “impact” or “influence”.

These cases, far from unique or isolated, include: a Madrid-based Augustinian friar whose footnotes lead to a Persian history of China; a khan of Khiva whose genealogical history of the “Tartars” becomes a favourite reference of Edward Gibbon or Adam Ferguson; or a young samurai retainer in Tokugawa Japan whose philological expertise in both Dutch and classical Chinese led him to the discovery of how queen Dido taught the Occidentals the trick of establishing colonies.

Roundtable on Chronotypes

On December 10 2017, the joint research project “East Asian Uses of the European Past” held a roundtable on “Tracing Chronotypes in East Asian Perceptions of the Past” at the conference “Chronologics: Periodization in a Global Context” (Maison de France, Berlin). For more information, see here.