The conclusion of the so-called “unequal treaties” between Euro-American powers and East Asian states brought a growing number of foreigners to China, Korea, and Japan. Treaty ports and foreign settlements such as Shanghai, Tianjin, Harbin, Jemuipo, Nagasaki, Kobe, and Yokohama, as well as the British colony of Hong Kong and the German lease of Jiaozhou, developed into lively trading centers. The rise of Japanese imperialism in Korea and Taiwan added a further dimension from the late nineteenth century on. Competition, cooperation, and conflict between different imperial and national projects found expression in multiple ways. This conference provides a forum to discuss the social, political, and cultural implications of the Japanese and Euro-American colonial presence in East Asia from the mid-nineteenth century to the Second World War.
In terms of historiographic praxis, this conference aims at cultivating a dialogue between the more established fields of British and French imperial history with those of emerging paths of historical inquiry such as German- and Luso- Asian Studies, the history of American-East Asian relations, or the study of Russian engagement with East Asia. In doing so, the conference aims to bring together scholars working in the fields of global, transnational and imperial history, East Asian Studies, and related disciplines, to explore the myriad ways in which both imperial powers and East Asian colonies and treaty ports were shaped by the colonial encounter.