AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 211

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Session 211: Roundtable: Transforming East Asia During the Pivotal 1910s

Organizer: Evan N. Dawley, Goucher College, USA

Discussants: Akira Iriye, Harvard University, USA; Guoqi Xu, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; Douglas R Howland, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA; Young-ran Hur, University of Ulsan, South Korea

The 1910s were a pivotal decade in world history. The “long 19th century” was dominated by world-spanning empires based around European metropolitan cores. During the 1910s, however, revolution and war banished several land-based and maritime empires from the face of the globe and dealt a severe challenge to those that survived. Local actors and movements in East Asia took advantage of global developments to push fundamental changes in the region. Japanese leaders enlarged the imperial territory at the expense of their neighbors and enhanced Japan’s status in relation to the Western powers, while Japanese citizens agitated for greater political participation and social transformation. In China, a loose collection of groups toppled the Qing dynasty, launching a period of fragmentation in which Chinese sought after national unity and a cohesive national identity, but remained at the mercy of foreign nations. Koreans lost their sovereignty to Japanese expansion, but combined their exploration of new social and political forms with a struggle to achieve self-determination. As the domestic contexts changed, so did regional trans-border relations. This roundtable will discuss East Asia’s multifaceted transformations during this crucial decade from a range of perspectives. It will bring together experts on domestic events in Japan, China, and Korea, as well as specialists in international and transnational relations. It will explore what made the 1910s of particular importance in East Asia’s modern history, what set it apart from other periods of time, and how events of these years influenced the subsequent course of regional, and world, history.