Tracing Braided Chronotypes in Transcultural Diplomacy

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Birgit Tremml-Werner’s subproject “Tracing Braided Chronotypes in Transcultural Diplomacy” focuses on early twentieth-century source compilations of pre-modern Japanese relations with the Europeans in South East Asia. In the process of preparing sources for a national history, the first generation of university-trained Japanese scholars collected, translated and annotated language sources on past maritime relations. A close reading of their output provides insights into the temporal dimension of a rapidly changing expansion discourse. In addition, an in-depth terminological analysis of historiographical material describing foreign relations – often implicitly using time frames such as modern or traditional – establishes relevant concepts and terms related to expansion. Zooming in on historian-translator Murakami Naojirō’s work on Japan’s diplomatic past highlights the impact of selective source material on narratives. Against the background of his political engagement and linguistic skills, the project traces the conceptual and terminological markers of historicity in foreign relations scholarship, for instance “friendship”, through a close reading of his scholarship.