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World History at the Turn of the Millennium

Thursday, September 23, 1999
Konferencelokale II, Studenternes Hus
Organisers: Anne Wedell-Wedellsborg &
Annette Skovsted Hansen

This workshop is one of two arrangements which thematize the role of Asia in the Humanities in the West, from the point of view of theory, aesthetics and intellectual history. It addresses the following questions: How and to what extent has Western studies in »other« civilizations such as the Chinese and the Japanese influenced the paradigm of Western historiographic scholarship? And what kind of implications do these studies have on the general concepts of nation«, and modernity« as stages of development and as conceptual categories? Hence, what does World History look like at the turn of the millennium?


Thursday, September 23, 1999

09.30-10.00 am Official Welcome and Introduction by Anne Wedell-Wedellsborg & Annette Skovsted Hansen
11.00-12.00 Prasenjit Duara: The Discourse of Civilization and Nationalism in the Twentieth Century
12.00-13.00 pm Lunch
13.00-14.00 Stein Tønnesson: What Became of the Asian Century?
14.00-15.00 Søren Clausen: The Place of China in the Concept of Early Modernity
15.00-15.30 Coffee break
15.30-16.30 Jens Rahbek Rasmussen: "Strange, Monotonous, Inexplicable?": China's Past and the Future Writing of Global History
16.30-17.00 Closing remarks


Ph.D. in history and East Asian languages from Harvard, is professor of History at University of Chicago. His primary field of research is the theory of History, with the history of China in the 20th century as his starting point, but with detours around Japan and India along the way. His first book, Culture, Power and the State (Stanford UP 1988), received several international prizes; and his latest: Rescuing History From the Nation (Univ. of Chic. P 1995), has been translated into Japanese, and has played a central role in the debate on Asian nationalism. His current research is concerned in particular with Manchuria during the Japanese occupation in the 1930s, and explores themes around the writing of national history, national identity and colonialism. At the same time, he has continuously carried out work on the representation of gender in the writing of national history. Duara's strong point, and the basis for the widespread respect he enjoys, is that he combines thorough empirical research into China's newer history with exciting and inspiring theories on the writing of history, Asian nationalism, and East Asia's role in world history.

Professor of Human Development Studies at the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at University of Oslo, where he also leads a research project on energy and security in the South China Sea. He is a historian, and has written monographs on the revolution in Vietnam in 1945, and on the war in Indo-China. He is also the author of a textbook on World history after 1945. Stein Tønnesen was Senior Research Fellow at the Nordic Institute for Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen from 1992-1998.

Associate professor of Chinese at the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Aarhus, specializing in modern Chinese history, society and politics. His ongoing research is on Chinese history and historiography. His publications include The Making of a Chinese City ? History and Historiography in Harbin,1995.

Associate professor of British history, University of Copenhagen. Considered reading sinology but settled for an amateur interest in Chinese history. Has published on the concept of the Asiatic mode of production and on recent trends in global historiography.

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Updated 21 November 2000 by smc. Please mail comments to the web editor at Centre for Cultural Research.