Open Seminar

Vol. 20.

Dialogue between Sociology and Humanities—Referring to Kokusho Ga Musubu Gaiko (General Remarks)

  • Date: 20th December 2019, 18:00-21:00
  • Venue: Ito International Research Center, The University of Tokyo
  • Speaker: Fuyuko Matsukata (Historiographical Institute, The University of Tokyo), Takashi Okamoto(Faculty of letters, Kyoto Prefectural University), Norihisa Yamashita (College of Global Liberal Arts, Ritsumeikan University), Miwa Horono (College of Global Liberal Arts, Ritsumeikan University)
  • Coordinator: Fuyuko Matsukata (Historiographical Institute, The University of Tokyo)

The year 2020 saw the publication of the books Historical Literacy in the Age of Post-Globalization (edited by Norihisa Yamashita, published by Toyo Keizai) and Kokusho Ga Musubu Gaiko [international relations through diplomatic letters] (edited by Fuyuko Matsukata, published by the University of Tokyo Press). While they differ in the sense that the former is a textbook focusing on the social sciences and the latter is a collection of essays on the humanities, there seems to be a common thread: both books question chronological history and reconsider world history through the perspectives of spatial perception and "19th-century language," in an attempt to free world history from Western-centrism.

In this seminar, Norihisa Yamashita, editor of Historical Literacy in the Age of Post-Globalization, and two writers whose work appears in this book ── Takashi Okamoto, who contributed a critique of Western-centric world history, and Miwa Hirono, who offered an analysis of the phrase "war and diplomacy" ── will discuss/review the two books and respond to one another's comments. Their conversation will shed light on differences in issue perception and methodology, and the possibility of cooperation, between the social sciences and historical studies. Rather than the type of comparison that tends to be either general but imprecise, or subtle but lacking in broad outlines, we will pursue a discussion that explores the question of what the foundations and aims of each discipline are.