Monthly Archives: October 2015

Japan-Korea: History as a Tool for Reconciliation?

Date: 16 October 2015

The first of six Michaelmas Term guest lectures organised by the ERC Project took place at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Dr. Lionel Babicz, who teaches modern Japanese history at the University of Sydney, made a presentation titled: “Japan-Korea: History as a Tool for Reconciliation?” More information follows the photo gallery.

In his presentation, Dr Babicz used two approaches to history – big history, and comparativism – in arguing that far from being an obstacle to be overcome, the past could be part of the solution. According to Dr. Babicz, big history of the joint Japanese-Korean past could allow to emphasise the great achievements of the Korean and Japanese civilisations, which have managed to survive and maintain their distinct identities in the shadow of China. Dr. Babicz then referred to the method of comparativism – an approach that views the Japan-Korea colonial ‘couple’ in comparison with similar colonial relationships, such as that between France and Algeria, in highlighting colonial and post-colonial commonalities and differences, and dealing with painful memories in a less impassioned manner.

The presentation was followed by a long and fruitful discussion between the guest lecturer and members of the project, as well as graduate and undergraduate students at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.