Symposium und Ausstellung


Als Auftakt zu einer Ausstellung zu dem Leben und der Arbeit von Walter Liebenthal findet am 22.03.2018 am Konfuzius-Institut in Hamburg ein Symposium zu deutschem Leben, Lernen und Lehren zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts in China statt, an dem ich mich mit einem Vortrag zu deutschen Lehrern und dem Lernen von Deutschland beteiligen werde.

Weitere Informationen finden sich hier.


That’s Shanghai: A Very Short Guide for Historians

After torturing my eyes for hours in front of blurry micro-fiche screens and bent over old magazines and illegible handwriting, why not encourage more people (especially graduate students!) to do the same? Nothing is as rewarding as holding papers that still carry the fingermarks of the historical actors (or at least from the other researcher who found them before you did).

Of course, among the many great reports within the “Fresh from the Archives” category on Dissertation Reviews, you may already find very helpful introductions. However, I was asked to draft a shorter and updated version for the new website of the European Research Center for Centre for Chinese Studies, which you may find here. And in the spirit of a particular new movie and the slogan of the Shanghai Library (“knowledge is power”): May the knowledge be with you and I hope to meet you all one day in the reading rooms!

Shanghai Library (my own picture)


Die Kulturrevolution aus Schweizer Perspektive

Die History Review vom Juni 2017 war bereits ganz der Bedeutung von Archiven außerhalb Chinas für das Studium der chinesischen Geschichte gewidmet.  (Siehe auch Beitrag weiter unten auf dieser Seite.) Ein weiteres Beispiel dafür, welch spannende Zeugnisse diplomatische Akten gerade zu Chinas turbulentesten politischen Phasen bieten können, wurde von Ariane Knüsel vorgestellt.  Unter dem Titel “The Swiss Witnesses to China’s Cultural Revolution” gibt sie Einblicke in die Akten der schweizer Botschaft in China und schildert, mit welcher Bestürzung die schweizer Diplomaten auf die Gewalttaten der Roten Garden reagierten und sogar direkte Vergleiche zu den Gewaltexzessen der Nazis anstellten.

Digital Humanities Asia Summit 2018

The registration for next year’s Digital Humanities Summit at Stanford University (April 27-28) is now open and judging from the list of confirmed speakers it will be a great opportunity to share and discuss the newest advances in Asian Digital Humanities:

“DHAsia 2018 Summit will focus on four (4) areas of research that represent both the core of DH as a whole, as well as areas in which Asian Studies scholars have been underserved and under-resourced: (1) the Spatial Analysis of Asian Human Geographies, (2) Text Mining and Computational Analysis of Asian & Non-Latin Scripts, (3) Network Analysis of Non-Western social formations, and (4) the development of Digital Humanities tools and platforms designed for the unique challenges of Asian Studies scholarship.” Source

Click here for the online registration.

INSNA 2017: Ein Konferenzbericht

For an English version see below.

Nach dem Besuch der diesjährigen Sunbelt-Konferenz des International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA) in Peking habe ich für H-Soz-Kult einen Bericht verfasst, den man hier abrufen kann.

Insgesamt hatte ich eine wunderbare Woche in Peking mit interessanten Vorträgen und faszinierenden Gesprächen, vor allem der Austausch mit WissenschaflerInnen aus völlig unterschiedlichen Fachdisziplinen hat mich begeistert. Viele der Kommentare und Diskussionen haben mir ganz neue Denkrichtungen aufgezeigt und werden mich sicher noch einige Zeit begleiten.

After participating in this year’s Sunbelt Conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA) in Beijing I wrote a conference report, which you can find here (in German).

Overall, I had a wonderful week in Beijing with very interesting presentations and fascinating talks (especially with scholars from so many different disciplines). The comments and discussions have opened my mind to new perspectives and gave me much food for thought.

German Archives as Treasure Troves for the Study of 20th Century China

“Why are you going to German company archives? Aren’t you doing Chinese history?” After having to answer this question time and again, I was glad to learn that the new issue of the PRC History Review is devoted exactly to this topic: Why and how should we use material stored in archives outside of mainland China or Taiwan to study Chinese history?

Especially the contributions by Jennifer Altehenger and Nicolai Volland on archival sources related to Sino-German relations in GDR-files in Berlin and Leipzig are very illustrative and I can wholeheartedly agree with both of them:

“Foreign archives cannot replace Chinese archival documentation, but they offer corrective lenses to help alleviate distortions of the historical record.” N. Volland (p.20)
“One of the exciting developments in PRC history, often of course driven by problems of accessibility, has been the push to explore lower-level but also, where available, non-state archival holdings in China. That same principle is useful in any search for documents from other formerly socialist countries.” J. Altehenger (p. 5)
Of course, this does not only hold true for the history of the People’s Republic but is also valid for research on the Republican period.
The complete issue of the PRC History Review can be found here.

One Modern Term, One Old Road

The silk road is in vogue again: Under the slogan “One Belt, One Road”(一帶一路 yi dai yi lu) China launched a new initiative to enhance the economic cooperation with its neighboring countries in Central Asia. These developments have not only received wide media attention but also caused foreign policy analysts from all over the world to wonder what this might mean for their own national economies and Eurasian economic development in general. (See for example Financial Times and P. Ferdinand)

At the same time, the study of the historical roots of the silk road is flourishing: The UC Berkeley just last month (April 2017) opened the P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for Silk Road Studies. (See Berkeley News)

In all this silk road-frenzy, however, it is often forgotten, that the term “silk road” does not stem from the old caravan traders or Buddhist travelers but has its roots in modern, in fact, Colonial history. It was coined in the 19th century by the German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen, who set out to provide the German government with geographical information needed to build a railway connecting Qingdao to Germany.

It is astonishing how this term with all its colonial implications is today reinvented as a symbol of a growing self-confidence of China as a regional power.

To read up on this fascinating history of this highly politicized term I recommend this article by Tamara Chin: The Invention of the Silk Road, 1877.

Ferdinand von Richthofen (1833-1905) Source

Die 68er-Bewegung, der Maoismus und der Deutsche Verfassungschutz

Einen ganz neuer Blick auf die Geschichte der deutsch-chinesischen Beziehungen in Zeiten des Kalten Krieges mit der damals ganz eigenen Logiken von Freund-und-Feind-Denken deckt Mascha Jacoby in diesem Artikel aus der Zeit Nr. 15/2017 auf: Mascha Jacoby: Post aus Peking

von Chris Brown from Melbourne, Australia (Little Red Book) Quelle

Of Sifting and Scanning

By Kay Körner, via Wikimedia Commons. (here)

Historians of the People’s Republic working outside of China can draw conveniently on an abundance of digitized Chinese sources nowadays. But how does that influence our research? How do we address the fact that digitalization is the result of a selection process? Especially those edited collections of  documents which were first published in print and then digitized underwent a dual selection: First the documents were selected by the editors, and second, only certain editions were then picked for digitalization.

I therefore highly recommend this article by Sophia Wang and Charles Kraus titled “Deng Xiaoping Sees Khrushchevs” which gives much food for thought.


Call for Papers: “The Connected Past 2017: The Future of Past Networks?”

Bournemouth University bietet vom 22. bis 25. August 2017 eine Kombination von Workshop und Konferenz zum Thema Soziale Netzwerkanalyse in der Geschichtswissenschaft und Archäologie.

“We welcome submissions of abstracts that address the challenges posed by the use of or apply network approaches in historical/archaeological research contexts, welcoming case studies drawn from all periods and places.”

Einsendefrist für Abstracts ist der 21. Mai. Für weitere Informationen siehe hier.