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We are very happy to announce presentations of our Travelogues project at the University of Kyoto! Our project leader, Arno Strohmeyer, and Doris Gruber will give papers at the Joint Seminar „Japan and the Ottoman Empire in the Eye of the European Beholder – A Comparison“, taking place from May 31st to June 3rd.

The interdisciplinary joint seminar will compare the perceptions of Japan and the Ottoman Empire in the Holy Roman Empire. The research situation is as diverse as the focused regions: In the German-speaking lands research on the perceptions of the Ottoman Empire in the Holy Roman Empire has long been established and is increasingly being promoted. More systematic investigations as well as new methods are being undertaken, which in particular use the new possibilities of digitization and digital humanities: FWF projects “The Mediality of Diplomatic Communication: “Habsburg Envoys in Constantinople in the middle of the 17th Century“, (2017–2021); “Perceptions of the Other in Travelogues 1500–1876 – A Computerized Analysis”, (2018–2021); “Continent Allegories in the Baroque Era”, (2012–2016).

While perceptions of the Ottoman Empire are increasingly being investigated, those of Japan have so far hardly been analyzed. The research interest is recent and first results are published in highly selective studies. The few studies that deal with relations between early modern Japan and Europe focus on the missionary work of the Jesuit order in the 16th and 17th centuries and the work of the Europeans in the wake of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th and 18th centuries in Japan. The Joint Project “Japan on the Jesuit Stage: German-speaking Areas and Beyond” (2017–2019) shows the added value of such international projects as well as their necessity.

Within the framework of the joint seminar, the varied material basis of these projects, ranging from diplomatic correspondence to travelogue to sculptural and visual sources, will now be presented comparatively in view of the articulated perceptions of the Ottoman Empire and Japan. Through their systematic and comparative study, the mechanisms of perceptions of otherness and its representations in the Holy Roman Empire can be analyzed much more clearly than before.

Ultimately, the joint seminar will enable a deepening of scientific cooperation between Japan and Austria as well as further development of methods and results of each participants. The importance of the seminar also lies in the challenges of today. Each of us is constantly confronted with diversity due to global phenomena such as globalization and international migration. The analysis of the treatment of otherness in the past offers historical orientation for today and tomorrow.

The Joint Seminar is financed cooperatively by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

Organisation | Contact:

Assoc.-Prof. Haruka Oba (Kurume University) | haruka.oba(at)kurume-u.ac.jp

Prof. Arno Strohmeyer (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna and University of Salzburg) | arno.strohmeyer(at)oeaw.ac.at

Dr. Marion Romberg (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna) | marion.romberg(at)oeaw.ac.at

Dr. Doris Gruber (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna | doris.gruber(at)oeaw.ac.at