AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 629

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Session 629: Roundtable: In Search of Common Histories in East Asia:Joint History Commissions and Nongovernmental Dialogues in Comparative Perspective

Organizer: Daqing Yang, George Washington University, USA

Discussants: Ping Bu, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China; Chin-sung Chung, , South Korea; Jae-Jung Chung, Northeast Asian History Foundation, South Korea; Tokushi Kasahara, Independent Scholar, Japan; Shin'ichi Kitaoka, University of Tokyo, Japan; Elazar Barkan, Columbia University, USA

The past several years have witnessed a proliferation of cross-national history dialogues in East Asia, a region that has been plagued by historical animosities in recent decades. Government-sponsored joint history commissions have released their full research reports in early 2010. Numerous non-government groups and individuals have engaged in projects that have produced jointly authored history books. This Roundtable examines the processes, outcomes, and the impact of these cross-national history dialogues, with a primary focus on joint history commissions. It explores the following questions: What were the motivations that gave rise to these history dialogues? How close are they to achieving their own objectives of narrowing differences and creating common histories? What problems—epistemological, sociological, and political—do they encounter? How do they compare with the similar endeavors in other parts of the world? What impact do these projects and publications have for the wider audience, especially teachers and students? Finally, to what extent are these history dialogues helpful in reducing animosities and enhancing historical reconciliation among the countries in East Asia? This Roundtable brings together team leaders and key participants in the joint history commissions and dialogues in an international conference outside East Asia for the first time. It promises to offer a candid discussion of the challenges inherent in writing cross-national history as well as insights into the dynamics of the East Asian region.