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01/19/2023 - 01/21/2023 | Warsaw

Global Easts: Entangled Histories and Memories

International Conference

The Global East is the trans peripheral problem space where the East remains underdeveloped compared to the developed “West” in the trajectory of global modernity. The supposed solution for this problem space is to become a “West.” This co-figuring of underdeveloped East and developed West has regulated our historical imagination echoing Eurocentric Orientalism. Viewed from the East as a trans peripheral problem space, the divide between East and West does not equal the boundary of Asia and Europe. Neither is geographically fixed. The strategic location of each is constantly in flux in historical discourse.
Each is a relational concept that takes shape and gains coherence only when configured in relationship to the other in the discursive context of the “problem space.” When Lech Wałęsa’s pledge to make Poland “a second Japan” subverts our imaginative geography, Poland ended up assigned to the East, Japan to the West.
Once our historical imagination is placed in the global chain of national histories, the fluidity of the East and the West as imaginative geography becomes clearer. German historical
imagination pits German Kultur against French civilisation, Germany as the East vis-à-vis
France as the West. However, Germany became the West vis-à-vis Poland, as the Ost in
Ostforschung of Polish studies implies. In turn, Poland considered itself the West vis-à-vis
“Asiatic” Russia. Japan went so far as to Orientalize Russia, positioning itself as the West after victory in the Russo-Japanese War. In Wałęsa’s 1980 address, Poland became Japan’s East/Asia and Japan Poland’s West/Europe. Far from fixed locations, “West” and “East” are adaptable categories whose fluidity can be understood through investigating entangled histories and memories of Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and East Asia in conjunction with one another.
If the West theorized the Orient by essentializing Middle Eastern, Asian, and North African societies as static and underdeveloped, it invented Eastern Europe as “an intellectual project 2 of demi-Orientalization.” Even before Asia, Eastern Europe became the West’s “first model of underdevelopment.” In turn, the nineteenth-century Polish intelligentsia defined Western Europe by contrast and positioned themselves as mediators between Europe and the Orient.
The conceptual gradation of Oriental and demi-Oriental was determined by its distance to “West.” The shorter the distance, the less Oriental. Neither nationalist nor Marxist historians of Global Easts broke free from the Eurocentric discourse of historicism that projected the West as “History” scale, which feeds Eurocentrism and Orientalism. National histories of Global Easts became the epistemological twins of the Eurocentric national histories of the West by sharing the Orientalist value-code in the form of “anti-Western Orientalism.”
This conference will be focused on commonalities shared in experiences of modernity, in their transition from dictatorship to democracy, and in the shaping of collective memory in the Global Easts. It may shed new light on the fluidity of East and West, the global complexity of historical memory and imagination, and the boundaries between democracy and mass dictatorship.


This conference will host papers focusing on the following topics:
1. Historical Imaginations: (Self-) Orientalism in Global Easts.
2. Making the East: Political Movements and Self-Identification.
3. Global Memories of the East: power and opposition in the Cold War memory spaces,
memory of modernization and development in the post-war Easts.
4. Entangled and Comparative Memory of Dictatorships and Genocides: International
transfer of memory and of denialist discourses.
5. Displaying the Global Easts: collections, museums, and heritage about and within the
6. Poland and the Global Easts: theory and practice.


Provisional program

19 January

9.30 am-10 am
Opening remarks
Prof Marek Pawełczak (WCGH)
Prof Dr Jie-Hyun Lim (CGSI)
Prof Dr Maren Röger (GWZO)
Prof Joanna Wawrzyniak (CRSM)


10 am – 11.30 am
Panel 1: ‘East’ and ‘West’ Theoretical Approaches

Chair: Prof Dr Maren Röger

Prof Dr Jie-Hyun Lim
“Global Easts: Tactical Essentialism or Heuristic Juxtaposition?”

Prof Dr Dominic Sachsenmaier
“‘East’ and ‘West’ in Chinese Visions of World Order - Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.”

Prof Dr Frank Hadler and Prof Dr Matthias Middell
“New Europe’s East after 1917 and the Attempt to change the Post-War World.”


Coffee break


12 am – 1.30 pm
Panel 2 : Cold War Mnemoscapes beyond borders towards Global East


Prof Hyun Kyung Lee
“The eclectic heritagescape of a tense border in the DMZ: Remaking national victimhood for peacebuilding. ”

Prof Nayun Jang
“Capturing the Temporal Complexity of Borders: Remembering Korean State Villages through Photography. ”


Lunch break


2.30 pm – 4 pm

Panel 3: Otherness, Race, and Memory


Prof Hoi-eun Kim
“Imagining Koreans as a Race: German Physical Anthropology, Japanese Colonialism, and Post-colonial Korean Nationalism.”

Dr Mikko Toivanen
“East as Identity: the 1885 debate around De Oosterling in the Dutch East Indies.”

Prof Takashi Fujitani
“Troubling the East/West Binary: W.E.B. Du Bois on the Japanese, Jews, and Others.”


Coffee break


4.30 pm – 6 pm
Panel 4: PhD Candidates Seminar


Mr Intaek Hong
“Socialist Care” or “Socialist Humanitarianism”: Transnational Formation and Practice of the Narrative of “Care” toward Children of War in the Socialist World

Mr Hee Yun Cheong
“The Birth of the Other Human Remains”

Mr. Sebastian Żbik
“East turns into West. The attitude of Zanzibar’s Arab elite towards modernity and development. ”


Dinner 7.00 pm


20 January

10 am – 11.30 am

Panel 5: Entangled Memories of Communism

Dr Thuc Linh Nguyen Vu
“Capturing Decolonization: Polish Socialist Travelogues from Vietnam.”

Dr Jennifer Altehenger
“Entangled in Style: Designing life between East and West in the People’s
Republic of China.”

Dr Igor Iwo Chabrowski
“Feasting during the famine: upturning notions of East and West in the cultural exchanges between China and Poland during the Great Leap Forward (1960).”


Coffee break


12 am – 1.30 pm

Panel 6: Post-War East and West

Prof Cheehyung Kim
“Machines of the Quotidian: Entangled History and Subsumption of Memory in North Korea's Architecture and Technology. ”

Prof Dr Stefan Berger
“Remodelling the West via the East? Transitioning from Communism to Capitalism in Eastern Germany in the 1990s and the Effects of such Transitioning on West Germany in the 2000s – a Case Study from the Ruhr Region of Germany. ”

Dr Maya Vodopivec
“Women, War and Violence in International Relations: On the Exclusive Narrative of Victimhood in Case Studies of South Korean ‘Comfort Women’ and Bosnian ‘Mothers of Srebrenica’.”


Lunch Break


2.30 pm – 4 pm
Panel 7: Museums as agents of Memory between East and West

Dr Laura Pozzi
“Decoloniality in the Global East(s): Problematizing Decolonial theories
and practices through the analysis of museums’ exhibitions in Poland and

Dr Zuzanna Bogumił
“Endless East between martyrdom and civilization success: On Russian Siberia in Polish memory culture.”

Prof Joanna Wawrzyniak
“Cultural Memory in Overlapping Peripheries: Insights from Armenian and Polish Museums.”


Coffee break


4.30 pm – 6 pm
Panel 8: Challenging the borders of ‘East’ and ‘West’

Prof Wasana Wongsurawat
“From Anglophile to Sinophile: The transformation and survival of royal hegemony in Thai politics from King Vajiravudh to HRH Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.”

Prof Jong-ho Kim
“Negotiating ‘Global East’: Overseas Confucianism, Mainland Modernism, and struggle for seeking ‘Chineseness’ in the early 20th century.”

Prof Paul Corner
“Italy as North or What happens when you are part of the West but it
doesn't feel like it. ”


Dinner 7.00 pm


21 January

10 am – 11.30
Panel 9: Memory of the Empire in East-Central Europe
Chair: Dr Katja Castryck-Naumann

Dr Elżbieta Kwiecińska
“A Civilizing Relay. The Concept of The Civilizing Mission as a Cultural Transfer in East-Central Europe, 1815-1919. ”

Prof Dr Małgorzata Głowacka-Grajper
“The West of the Eastern Empire. Heritage of Russian Rule in Poland.”


Coffee break


12 am- 1.30 pm
Concluding remarks, discussion possible collected volume.




GUIDED visit to POLIN Museum and Dinner


Organizers: Warsaw Centre for Global History (WCGH, Faculty of History, University of Warsaw); Critical Global Studies Institute (CGSI, Sogang University), Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO, Leipzig), Center for Research on Social Memory, (Faculty of Sociology, University of Warsaw).

Information on participating / attending:


01/19/2023 09:30 - 01/21/2023 13:30

Event venue:

Wydział Historii
Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28
00-927 Warsaw

Target group:

Scientists and scholars, Students



Subject areas:

Cultural sciences, Geosciences, History / archaeology, Politics, Social studies

Types of events:

Conference / symposium / (annual) conference




Virginie Michaels


Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit

Event is free:


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URL of this event:

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