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Global Challenge and Regional Response

Press Release No. 5/2009
12 06 2009
Conference and summer school on Northeast China’s encounters with the rest of the world
At present, two scholarly conferences are investigating the social, cultural, economic and political encounters between Northeast China and the rest of the world: the Harbin Summer School (9-13 June) and the conference “Global Challenge and Regional Response” (17-20 June). They have been organised by Heilongjiang University (Harbin, People’s Republic of China), the Cluster “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” and the Centre for European Historical and Cultural Studies (both Heidelberg University), and the German Historical Institute in Washington (USA).

The international conference and the summer school in Harbin are the second leg in a series of four international gatherings devoted to the history and culture of Harbin and Northeast China. This year the focus is on the multicultural complexion of the city and its surrounding region in the period from 1898 to 1949. The participants will be discussing the global challenges facing Northeast China in that period and the regional responses materialising in its social, cultural, economic and political encounters with the rest of the world.

“Only in the early 20th century did Northeast China begin to attract global attention,” says Heinz-Dietrich Löwe, professor of Eastern European history and dean of Heidelberg University’s faculty of Philosophy, who opened the summer school. Japanese and Russian imperialism made the area into an important crossroads for the trade routes between Asia, Europe and North America. Accordingly, the region (referred to as Manchuria in western historiography) is an outstanding example of “glocalisation”, i.e. a convergence of global and local interests.

“Those interests are hardly ever harmoniously balanced or static,” says Madeleine Herren-Oesch, professor of modern history and co-director of Heidelberg University’s Cluster “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”. On the contrary, the interaction between them is extremely dynamic and complex, requiring permanent negotiation and constant efforts to offset the effects of asymmetrical power relations, social complications and economic oppression. The conference and the summer school will be analysing these factors, “both from a western and an Asian perspective,” as Professor Herren-Oesch adds. “Dovetailing western and Asian perspectives is a crucial feature of our Cluster’s research design. In this way we hope to achieve new, sustainable concepts and approaches in connection with the cultural concatenations existing between Europe and Asia.”

Contact (local)
Dr. Frank Grüner
Cluster “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”
Head of the B 10 “Harbin” Young Researchers Group

Contact (general)
Iris Mucha
Cluster “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”
Public Relations Office
phone: +49 6221 544008

General inquiries from journalists should be addressed to
Heidelberg University
Communications and Marketing
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Public Information Officer

Irene Thewalt
phone: +49 6221 542311
Editor: Email
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