On March 22, an international workshop entitled “History for Democracy in the Age of Populism” was held at Gent University, Belgium. More than 20 researchers from Japan and Europe, including Ph.D. students at Gent University, participated in the workshop. It had the meaning as a preparatory meeting for the international conference of the same title, which will be organized as a closing event of “National History and Collective Memory Project” at Kwansei Gakuin University on August 31 and September 1. First of all, Prof. Shinya Hashimoto as the project leader presented its outline and purpose. In addition to that, he proposed the agenda as to bridging experiences on the political use of history both in Europe and Asia. Each of the following reports, mainly in line with the European case, focused on the handling of historical research under the current political situation.
Prof. Antoon De Baets (the University of Groningen, The Netherlands), explaining the relationship between democracy and history, insisted that the practice of historical writing in accord with the academic procedure could play an essential role for strengthening democracy. Prof. Berber Bevernage (The University of Ghent) introduced a newly edited book by himself, The Palgrave Handbook of State-Sponsored History After 1945, and presented a strategic method for research institutes like universities to maintain the autonomy, referring to the presence of a mechanism for producing history research as a national project. Prof. Mirosław Filipowicz (Lublin Catholic University, Poland) illustrated the operations of the Polish-Russian Group for Difficult Issues, in which he was engaged, and explicitly clarified that he had faced various problems in the course of events. Martí Grau Segú (Jean Monet-Haus, France), based on his experience as a curator of the Museum “House of European History,” described the changes of narrative on post-Cold War political situation in Europe, and furthermore, the contents of EU activities in terms of public history.
In the discussion, even though we talked various topics on the agenda, such as the Japan-South Korea Joint History Research Project, especially vigorous argument took place for reconsidering the problem on the relationship between “populism” and “democracy” as a premise of the project. At least, all of the participants shared the notice that those ideas were not mutually contradicted in all the cases. However, it means that the idea of “democracy” varies with each context. Considering the present situation of European countries, the emergence of “populism” could be justified under the name of “democracy” on a specific occasion. Pointing out the limits of democracy as an art of governance, Prof. Carol Gluck (Columbia University, USA) offered the informative suggestion that the current disputes between nations over historical understanding arise not so much from the different interpretations of facts as from the different choices of them and stresses on the individual cases.
Moreover, Prof. Hashimoto stated that the concept of “democracy” should be reexamined, taking account of the practical use of the word in each political situation and history both in Europe and Asia. It seemed that he intended to avoid a simple application of “democracy” originated from the European context to the other historical cases, especially in Asia. However, a part of the participants from the European side did not approve such a view because it questioned the universal value of “democracy.” Not reaching an agreement with this issue due to constraints of time, we recognized it as an essential subject to be tackled for analyzing memory politics globally in this project. I was able to grasp the framework of discussion in the European context at this opportunity, and this workshop provided us with necessary and intensive time for the next meeting.
- Kwansei Gakuin Hall, Kwansei Gakuin University
- Korean-Japanese Forum of Western History
Interdisciplinary Research Project on the Function of National Histories and Collective Memories for the Democracy in the Globalized Society（NHCM）
- Hiroshi Fukuda（Seijo University, Japan）
Hiromi Komori (Waseda University, Japan)
Takahiko Hasegawa (Hokkaido University, Japan)
- ▼Keynote speech
● Stefan Berger (Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)
---Engaging Populisms: Which Historical Memory for What Kind of Democracy?
● Eve Rosenhaft (University of Liverpool, UK/ Sogang University, South Korea)
---Beyond Multidirectional Memory: Tracing the Holocaust in the African Diaspora
● Jie-Hyun Lim (Sogang University, South Korea)
---Remembering Mass Dictatorship in the Post-fascist Era: Fascism, Populism, and Democracy
▼Session I Politics of Identity, Belonging and Exclusion in the Age of Populism
● Takumi Itabashi (Seikei University, Japan)
---- Populism and –or versus- Democracy: The Experience of Modern German History
● Eva-Clarita Pettai (University of Jena, Germany)
---- Retrospective Justice and Identity Politics in Central and Eastern Europe
● Jung Han Kim (Sogang University, South Korea)
---- Is Populism the exit of a Democratic Crisis ? : Debates on Left Populism in Korea
▼Session II Revised Histories and Memories under Democratization and Transitional Justice, and their Outcome
● Eugenia Gay (National University of Cordoba, Argentina)
---- To Rebuild a Nation. Historiographical Itineraries after a Disruption of the Social Bond
● Lap Yan Kung (Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
--- The Tiananmen Square Incidents and Ethics of Memory: A Ritual Interpretation
●Myeon Jeong (Sogang University, South Korea)
---- Remembering Zhuge Liang’s (諸葛亮) Southern Campaign in the Political-Social Context of Contemporary China
▼Session III "De-nationalization" of History or Accommodation of National Histories?
● Berber Bevernage (Ghent University, Belgium)
--- Doing History for Reconciliation? Some Theoretical Reflections on the Uses of Historiography for Reconciliation and Peace Building after Violent Conflict
● Naoki Inoue (Kyoto Prefectural University, Japan)
----- History of Koguryo (高句麗) and the ‘National History’: Scramble between Korea and China
● Neeladri Bhattacharya (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)
----- When was Post-National? History Writing in the Era of Populism
- Ariyoshi Ogawa (Rikkyo University, Japan)
Nobuya Hashimoto (Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan)
Kumie Inose (Konan University, Japan)