Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About usNews and EventsInaugural lectures

Inaugural lecture Ms Prof J. de Jong: Orwell's shadow. The historian as an antidote to nationalism in postwar Asia and Europe

When:Tu 09-02-2016 at 16:15
Where:Aula Academy Building, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

In George Orwell’s novel 1984 the past plays a distinctive role: ‘who controls the past, controls the future’ is one of the party slogans. Although being fiction, history also in reality is often a political tool to bolster up nationalism. History in that sense is the moral construction that nations are built on; historical consciousness and memory help to create a national identity.

The lecture will take a look at how history plays a role in East Asia, where especially the Japanese war legacy is a highly contested matter, also within Japan, and will compare the role of this war legacy with the developments in Europe after WWII and after the Cold War.

Since 1989, the changing power relations in the Asia-Pacific had an important influence on history and memory, just like in Europe the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union resulted in a great many new studies and interpretations. The lecture will address questions such as: is the role of war experience and of history different in East Asia compared to Europe? Is engagement with war experience a crucial part of creating a postwar national identity? How to understand the post Cold War in this respect? Nationalism is potentially undermining stability both in East Asia and in Europe. Where nationalism is built on a distortion of history, historians should act as an antidote.

More information

  • Inaugural lecture: Ms Prof J. de Jong
  • Title: Orwell's shadow. The historian as an antidote to nationalism in postwar Asia and Europe
  • Chair: Europe-East Asia relations with a focus on Japan
  • Faculty: Arts
printView this page in: Nederlands