Birgit Tremml-Werner

Birgit Tremml-Werner, Dr.

Postdoctoral Researcher HERA project

Office KO2 F 169

Tel.: +41 (0) 44 634 38 91


I am a global historian working on transcultural encounters in South East Asia in the early modern period. In my second book project on actor-based intercultural diplomacy I focus on Tokugawa Japan’s foreign policy in the early seventeenth century and the overall impact of Spanish diplomatic performances in Asia (1565–1762) on the international order in the China Seas. Following up on my PhD research on multi-cultural Manila as the crucible where the pre-modern states of China, Japan and Spain met and negotiated, I aim to contribute to the growing research fields of both micro global history and a cultural history of diplomacy with concrete insights on verbal and non-verbal communication and diplomatic practices in Asian contact zones.

Current project

Tracing Braided Chronotypes in Intercultural Diplomacy (working title)

In my current HERA subproject entitled ‘Tracing Braided Chronotypes in Intercultural Diplomacy’ I study the connections between representation and perception of cultural and geographical characteristics in transnational negotiations. I believe that more stress has to be laid on the currents of ideas and the impact of culturally determined mentalities when studying global processes such as diplomacy or empire building efforts. Against the background of declining empires in Eurasia I will begin with a survey of symptomatic texts including foreign relations source collections and annotated translations. In a further step I aim to analyze how emblematic moments of early modern diplomacy such as the Peace of Westphalia or Hugo Grotius’s ideas on the international law reflected in nineteenth century Japan’s discourses on past diplomatic relations and its current position in the world. 

Education and Professional Experience


September 2016        
HERA Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Historisches Seminar, University of Zurich
2013–2015  JSPS Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo
2007–2012 Teaching and Research Assistant at the Department of Social and Economic History, University of Vienna
2012 PhD in History, University of Vienna 
2007 MA History and Japanese Studies, University of Vienna



Spain, China and Japan in Manila, 1571–1644. Local Comparisons and Global Connections (PDF, 1011 KB) (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2015).

Edited Volumes

Guest editor for a special issue on Early Modern Diplomatic Actors in the Journal of Early Modern History, with Dorothée Goetze, 2019.

15past15 podcast series together with Martin Dusinberre.

Audienzen und Allianzen. Interkulturelle Diplomatie in Asien und Europa vom 8. bis zum 18. Jahrhundert (Wien: Mandelbaum, 2014). Together with Eberhard Crailsheim.

Piraten in der Geschichte. Historische Sozialkunde 2013 (Band 3). Together with Andreas Obenaus und Eugen Pfister.

Schrecken der Händler und Herrscher. Piratengemeinschaften in der Geschichte (Wien: Mandelbaum, 2012). Together with Andreas Obenaus und Eugen Pfister.


Refereed articles and book chapters

"Creating, avoiding and managing conflicts: Sebastian Vizcaíno as New Spain's ambassador to Tokugawa Japan, 1611-1613," in Dorothea Nolde, ed., Conflict Management in Early Modern Diplomacy (forthcoming 2019).

"Perception and Self-Representation of Friars Serving as Adhoc envoys in early modern Asia 1574-1662," in Julia Geek, Stephan Mai, Christof Muigg, eds., In their own words? The Shaping of the Diplomatic Selves in their Social Relations (forthcoming 2019).

"The Global and the Local in Early Modern Manila's Communication Spaces," in Jos Gammons, Ariel Lopez, eds., Philippine Crossings (Amsterdam: AUP 2019).

"Agentes dobles en el Japón de la Edad Moderna. El espionaje económico y religioso de los visitantes hispanos," in Gennaro Varriale, ed., Espias y soplones en la frontera (XVI-XVII siglos) (Alcalá: CEDCS 2018).

“Zwangsumsiedlungen und ‘Wirtschaftsflüchtlinge’ im und aus dem Chinesischen Kaiserreich,” in Thomas Ertl, Hg., Erzwungene Exile. Umsiedlung und Vertreibung in der Vormoderne (500–1850) (Frankfurt/Main: Campus Verlag 2017), 175–196.

“The Manila Galleon”; Katsushika Hokusai; Spain, 1450–1770; “The Americas, 1450–1770” in Stephen Stein, ed., The Sea in World History. Exploration, Travel and Trade Navigation History (ABC Publishing 2017).

“Friends or Foes? Intercultural Diplomacy between Momoyama Japan and the Spanish Philippines in the 1590s” (PDF, 2152 KB) in Tonio Andrade and Xing Hang, eds., Sea Rovers, Silver and Samurai. Maritime East Asia in Global History, 1550–1700 Conference Volume (University of Hawai’i Press, 2016), 65–85.

“Audienzen und Korrespondenz. Japan und das spanische überseeische Imperium in der Frühen Neuzeit,” (PDF, 572 KB) in: Birgit Tremml-Werner, Eberhard Crailsheim, eds., Audienzen und Allianzen. Interkulturelle Diplomatie in Asien und Europa vom 8. bis zum 18. Jahrhundert (Wien: Mandelbaum, 2014), 70–89.

“Communication Challenges in Triangular Relations in the China Seas: A Survey of Early Modern ‘Manila Linguists’,” (PDF, 8142 KB) in Angela Schottenhammer, ed., Tribute, Trade and Smuggling (Harrassowitz, 2014), 235–255.

“Von Banditen, Barbaren und Seeräubern: Wakō-Verbände im Chinesischen Meer,” Historische Sozialkunde 2013 (Band 3).

“The Global and the Local: Problematic Dynamics of the Triangular Trade in Early Modern Manila,” Journal of World History 23, no. 3 (Sept. 2012), 555–586.

“Waren sie nicht alle Piraten? Mit den wakō kreuz und quer durch die Chinesischen Meere, ca. 1400–1660,” in: Andreas Obenaus, Eugen Pfister, Birgit Tremml, eds., Schrecken der Händler und Herrscher. Piratengemeinschaften in der Geschichte (Wien: Mandelbaum, 2012), 144–167.

“Neuzeitliche Schifffahrt zwischen den spanischen Philippinen und Japan,” in: Alexander Marboe, Andreas Obenaus. eds., Seefahrt und die Frühe Europäische Expansion, (Wien: Mandelbaum, 2009), 179–208.

“A Global History of Manila at the Beginning of the Modern Era,” Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften 20/2009/2, 184–202. 


– EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize 2017 (Spain, China and Japan in Manila, 1571–1644. Local Comparisons and Global Connections)

– Award of Excellence 2013 des Bundesministeriums für Wissenschaft und Forschung (Austria)

– Jubiläumspreis des Böhlau Verlages Wien 2013 (Austrian Academy of Science)

– ICAS Best Dissertation in Humanities Award 2013 (Macao, 25 June 2013)

– Michael Mitterauer Preis 2013

– Theodor Körner Preis 2010