Farewell seminar for Leo Douw

June 25-26, My MA thesis supervisor as well as PhD co-promotor Leo Douw retires, and I am honored to be part of his farewell seminar:

Japan, China, and the Construction of History

The relationship between Japan and China is of central importance in world politics. The flows between both countries of technology, commodities, cultural production, and people constitute one of the motors of the world economy, but the on-going conflicts between both countries also pose one of the major potential threats to world peace. The workshop will consider the relationship between Japan and China from historical, anthropological and political science perspectives, with special attention for how the mainstream nationalist discourses in the region can be attenuated. Participants have been invited within this broadly defined field of Sino-Japanese interactions: they will discuss the possibilities for economic cooperation across the region, its embedding in a wider Eurasian context, Sino-Japanese diplomacy and the difficulty of reconciling the existing nationalisms with cross-border identity formation. Special attention will be paid to historical constructions of Sino-Japanese relations in all these fields, and for the imperial and colonial legacies as a whole of both countries. The lead question for these constructions is, how an alternative can be offered to the nationalist discourses, which predominate in the regional public debate and may impede peaceful solutions to the on- going conflicts.

Leo has worked as a lecturer of Modern Chinese History and Society mainly at the VU University’s History Department (since 1975) and at the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Anthropology (since 1989); in UvA’s Department of Political Sciences he taught courses in EU-Pacific Asia relations (1998-2006). During the past decade his research focus has increasingly been on the settlement of migrant populations across the Taiwan Strait under Japanese colonialism, 1895-1945, when Taiwan was part of the Japanese Empire; these are studied as a part of migrations, trading and settlement across the East Asian region.

The Organizing Committee,

Prof. Susan Legêne (Chairman, Dpt. of History, VU University Amsterdam)
Prof. Pál Nyiri (VU University Amsterdam)
Prof. Mario Rutten (Chairman, Dpt. Of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam) Prof. em. Willem van Schendel (University of Amsterdam)

Please click here for the programme.

During the seminar I will present my paper on the umbrella movement in Hong Kong.