Category Archives: Conferences

Digital Media and Charting the Geography of Power in East Asia

Date: 28-30 June 2017

Location: Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge

This international conference was held at the Faculty of Classics, across the courtyard, because the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies is undergoing reconstruction. For several days invited guests, participants, and observers from Cambridge, the University of Heidelberg, the University of East Anglia, Lafayette College (USA), Keio University, Waseda University and Kyoto University (Japan) discussed their individual and group efforts at website creation, database management, and digital preservation. Over three days the group presented six individual talks on digital humanities projects at their various institutions, methodologies for linking international projects, as well as digital “best practices” and tools for upgrading interoperability and software development. In addition, Huw Jones and Hal Blackburn of the Cambridge University Library Digital Humanities Unit also delivered talks on the current state of the digital humanities field in general, concerns with how to maintain sites and construct budgets or proposals, and offered insight on the implementation of past and present projects at Cambridge. Over several working lunches and dinners the group continued to engage in conversation about how to link our sites and expand on exchanging further information and datasets to meet new short and long term goals.

Conference Programme and Participant List


Media and How it Shapes History: The Third International Conference

Date: 13-15 January 2017

Location: University of Cambridge, UK

The 3rd Conference “Media and How it Shapes History,” sponsored by the Toshiba International Foundation, took place at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Barak Kushner, the principal investigator of the ERC Project Dissolution of the Japanese Empire, and Professor Rana Mitter of the University of Oxford China Centre, welcomed the participants to Westminster College for a weekend of discussion and debate.

As in the first two conferences, the gathering brought together a diverse group of participants: historians, specialists in international relations, print and online journalists, and intellectuals. Addressing the big questions related to the role of media in East Asia, the attendees shared opinions and related professional experiences in stimulating discussions.

Specifically, this year’s conference differed from its two predecessors in that the organisers approached the role of the media holistically across the region. The overarching aim was to draw conclusions from three years of discussions and exchange across professional and national boundaries, and to discuss the ways in which these conclusions can be shared with the wider, global audiences. As a result of the conference, Dr. Kushner and Prof. Mitter will author an article that will summarise the work done at three gatherings and present the participants’ vision for the future of collaboration between media and academia.

Conference Schedule

Participant Biographies


The Reconstruction of East Asia, 1945-65

Date: 9-12 December 2016

Location: Cambridge University, UK

This international conference aimed to generate new dialogues on the history of the collapse of the Japanese empire. It did so by gathering in Cambridge a diverse group of scholars who work on a wide variety of historical and geographical perspectives, focusing on China, Japan, Korea (South and North), and Taiwan, and researching aspects of military demobilization, law and responsibility, the reorganization of authority and new political ideologies, transformations in postwar socieites, cultures, and many related topics.

The underlying theme of the discussions was the way in which the collapse of the Japanese empire affected the region, and how a host of different and often competing groups struggled to remap and revision East Asia in the aftermath of the end of empire.

Over three days, twenty-five scholars from Asia, Europe and North America divided into eight panels were joined by the Project team and Cambridge-based historians and graduate students to engage in fruitful discussions. These were alternated by informal conversations and exchanges aimed at fostering scholarly collaboration and networking. As a result of the conference, the best presentations will be selected for publication in two edited volumes, leading to valuable contributions to existing literature on the post-imperial reconstruction of East Asia.

Conference Agenda

Participant Biographies

Conference Materials (password protected)


The Media and How it Shapes History in East Asia

Date:  7 April 2016

Dr. Barak Kushner (University of Cambridge) and Professor Rana Mitter (Oxford University) ran their second annual Toshiba Foundation-funded international conference at the University of Cambridge on media and how it shapes history in East Asia, with a special emphasis on Korea and Taiwan. Participants from East Asia and Europe gathered over several days to engage in intense discussions concerning the role of media (including social media and cyberspace) in East Asia and whether it has an impact on how audiences conceive of their national agendas and identities. We invited academics, journalists, and those whose profession lies somewhere in between, including think tank experts and media observers, to spend a few days in extended debates on these issues.  The goal of the conference was to provide a venue to engage those in media and those consuming and investigating it to examine the many ways in which contemporary news, television, print journalism, and new social media shape the manner in which inhabitants of East Asia (China, Taiwan, North and South Korea, Japan) understand their own history and comprehend the region.

Conference Flyer

Full List of Participants


Contested Visions of Justice: Allied War Crimes Trials in a Global Context, 1943-1958

Dates: September 25-27, 2015

Jointly convened by Dr. Franziska Seraphim (Boston College), Dr. Kerstin von Lingen (Heidelberg), Dr. Wolfgang Form (ICWC Marburg) and Dr. Barak Kushner (Cambridge), this conference brought together historians, experts in international law and war crimes trials, as well as junior researchers at Boston College – Ireland.

Over the course of three days in Dublin, participants from Australia, Germany, Japan, Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom discussed the history and legacy of international war crimes trials, the conflicting and converging visions of justice in the post-World War II world, and other topics. Divided into four panels, presenters and discussants explored the interconnections between various disciplines and approaches that analyse the post-war processes of administering justice within the global context.

Discussions and debates centred on the connections between post-WWII international military tribunals at Nuremberg (IMT) and Tokyo (IMTFE), the international legal mechanisms that these trials gave rise to and the precedents they set, and their lasting impact on the evolution of the global order after the war. The conference table at Boston College – Ireland became a meeting place for not only the contested visions of postwar justice, but also the disciplines of international law and history, and comparative approaches to national perceptions of war crimes and their adjudication.

As co-convenor of the conference, Dr. Barak Kushner made a presentation on the Chinese-Chinese competition in adjudicating the Japanese war crimes, and chaired a panel of papers that compared the competing notions of criminality across national borders. In his presentation, Dr. Kushner traced the evolution of Chinese legal system over the course of the twentieth century, competing visions of international justice between the Chinese Nationalists (KMT) and Communists (CCP), as well as the processes through which these two rivals used the adjudication of Japanese war crimes in establishing their own legitimacy within China.”

Conference Flyer

More information can be found on the University of Heidelberg’s conference page.