Report: "International Conference on History, Identity and the Future in Modern East Asia"

21 December, 2009 NAKAJIMA Takahiro, KOBAYASHI Yasuo

The conference was held between 14th and 16th December at Fudan University, Shanghai, co-hosted by National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies of Fudan University, Modern East Asia Research Centre (MEARC) of Leiden University, and UTCP.


Scholars from China, Taiwan, Germany, Austria, Belgium, USA, Canada, Australia, and Japan joined it. They have various major fields like Philosophy, History, Japanology, Sinology, and so on. This conference was a result of MEARC project launched by two professors, Rikki Kersten and Axel Schneider and of UTCP activities with Leiden University. These two professors came to UTCP in June 2008, when we decided to cooperate together and to organize a conference in Shanghai in 2009.

This was a remarkable opportunity to discuss with international prominent scholars beyond the limitation of disciplines. What we examined to the core were the notions such as historiography, modernity, and philosophy, which still remained to be questioned until now. From UTCP side, three members participated in it. Ishii Tsuyoshi gave a talk about Zhang Taiyan and his philosophy of language, Nakajima Takahiro about Naito Konan and the limit of his historiography. Kobayashi Yasuo played a chair and a commentator for the sessions.


We also decided to have a next meeting in order to interrogate the “modernity” of East Asia and of Western world at the same time. In conclusion, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to Fudan University and MEARC of Leiden University.


Day 1, December 14, 2009
102 East Sub-building, Guang-hua Tower

Opening Ceremony
Welcome speeches by Fudan, UTCP and MEARC/Göttingen

Keynote Speech 1 (Session Chair: Axel Schneider)
Stefan Tanaka: Time and the Delimitations of History in East Asia
Comments by Naoki Sakai, Wu Chan-liang, Rikki Kersten

Day 2, December 15, 2009
2801 West Main Building, Guang-hua Tower

Panel 1 – Modernity and Philosophy: Thinking Across Boundaries (A) (Session Chair: Benjamin A. Elman)
Naoki Sakai: The Body of the Nation: the Pastorate and NationalSelf-assertion
Takahiro Nakajima: Historiography of Naito Konan: how to putaside the desire for an “Interconnected Order”(tong)
Christian Uhl: Fukuzawa Yukichi and Miyazaki Tōten: ABlack-and-White Portrait of an Odd Couple

Panel 2 – Modernity and the Transformation of Knowledge (Session Chair: Zhu Wei-zheng)
Benjamin A. Elman: Why was “Mr. Science” Called “Kexue” 科學 in Chinese? Rescuing Science and Culture in Chinese History,
Tsuyoshi Ishii: The axiomatic expression of parole and ecriture: about Zhang Taiyan’s linguistic practises or philosophy discourses
Li Xiao-qian: Wittfogel and Modern Chinese Academia

Panel 3 – Modernity and History (A) (Session Chair: Rikki Kersten)
Liu Lung-hsin: Regard Sibu all as history in addition to Six Classics- views on the modern pursuit of Chinese Historiography
Zhang Qing: “The Significance of History”: A Review of the Imperial Examinations Reformation in the Late Qing Dynasty
Luo Zhi-tian: The Marginalization of Classical Studies and the Rising Prominence of Historical Studies during the late Qing and early Republic: A Reappraisal

Panel 4 – Modernity and Philosophy: Thinking Across Boundaries (B) (Session Chair: Zhang Qing)
Peng Guo-xiang: Paradigm and Methodology: Hou Wailu and the History of Chinese Philosophy as a Modern Discipline
Sang Bing: Concepts and Things: The origin of modern “Chinese Philosophy”
Fabian Heubel: Cultural nationalism and East Asian modernity: In search for transcultural perspectives in contemporary Confucian learning

Day 3, December 16, 2009
2801 West Main Building, Guang-hua Tower

Keynote Speech 2 (Session Chair: Naoki Sakai)
Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik: Re-Imagining the Chinese Peasant: The Historiography on the Great Leap Forward
Comments by Yasuo Kobayashi, Peng Guo-xiang, Fabian Heubel

Panel 5 – Postwar Discussions of Modernity (Session Chair: Yasuo Kobayashi)
Sun Ge: The problem of “modernity” in post-war Japanese research of the history of the masses
Els van Dongen: Rewriting Modern Chinese History during the Early 1990s: A Critical Engagement with Modernity?
Rikki Kersten: Historical Trauma, Intellectual Apostasy and Subjective Coherence: Yoshimoto Takaaki’s “1945 Complex”

Panel 6 – Modernity and the Nation: Re-drawing National Boundaries (Session Chair: Luo Zhi-tian)
Sun Ying-gang: Constructing the “Middle Ages”: A western term in the eastern historiography
Matthias Zachmann: The Future in East Asia, 1937-45: Re-visioning Sino-Japanese Relations in “Greater East Asia”
Ge Zhao-guang: Where are the boundaries? The rise of studies of national minorities in China and Japan at the beginning of the 20th century

Panel 7 – Modernity and History (B) (Session Chair: Ge Zhao-guang)
Viren Murthy: Zhang Taiyan’s Yogācārin Vision of Equality in the Context of the Meiji Buddhist Philosophy
Wu Chan-liang: The Biogenesis and Anti-Enlightenment Tendencies in the Late Qing Dynasty
Axel Schneider: Critique of Modernity: Ethics and Progress in Republican Chinese Discourse on History
Wang Fan-sen: Wang Kuo-wei and the Idea of “moral group”

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