History seminars at the IHR

Comparative Histories of Asia

Convenors: Professor Naoko Shimazu (Birkbeck), Dr Taylor Sherman (LSE), Dr Andrea Janku (SOAS), Dr Owen Miller (SOAS), Dr Matthew Phillips (Aberystwyth), Dr Lily Chang (UCL)

Venues:  Torrington Room 104, 1st floor, South block, Senate House

Time: Thursdays, 5.30pm

Please note Please check each week for the room allocation.  We strongly recommend that you check the IHR website for updates. 

Some podcasts from this seminar are available online

Autumn Term 2015
DateSeminar details
15 October 'Islands in Asian History': an opening roundtable event


The Dilemmas of Islanding: Sri Lanka in the Early Modern Period
Dr Zoltan Biedermann (UCL)

Commodity and Sovereignty Production in the North Pacific: The Marcus Island Incident of 1902
Dr Paul Kreitman (IHR)

Islands, Ports, and Maritime Networks in Nineteenth Century
Dr Jeppe Mulich (LSE)

Heligoland: Notes on a (Very) Small Island
Dr Jan Rueger (Birkbeck)

Comparative Histories of Asia Forum

Venue: Bloomsbury Room G35, Ground floor, South block, Senate House

29 October Doctoral Session I

Umma, Millet, Ulus, Vatan: The Development of the Concept of the Nation Among Turkic Intellectuals until 1917
Michael Erdman (SOAS)

Translation, Wolgan Amerika (American Monthly) and U.S. foreign cultural policy with regard to South Korea in 1949-1950
Ye Jin Kim (SOAS)

The Making of Thai Social Science Textbooks, from the Late 19th Century to 1944
Wasitthee Chaiyakan (SOAS)

Drinks reception to follow. All welcome!

Venue: Torrington Room 104, 1st floor, South block, Senate House

12 November Forging India's Democratic Citizenship: The Preparation of the First Elections 1947-1952

Dr Ornit Shani (University of Haifa)

Venue: Torrington Room 104, 1st floor, South block, Senate House

26 November Japan in the Western Imagination: A Voyage of Ideas into the Past

Prof Naoko Shimazu (Birkbeck) will be giving the 2015 W.G. Beasley Memorial Lecture

Venue: at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, Brunei Gallery, SOAS, from 7.15pm

2 December Japanese Agency and Business Reform in Occupied Japan: The Holding Company Liquidation Commission and Zaibatsu Dissolution

Dr Steven Ericson (Dartmouth College)


To date, studies of the zaibatsu dissolution and business deconcentration programs during the U.S. Occupation of Japan have foregrounded an array of American players-Douglas MacArthur and his subordinates in Tokyo, Washington bureaucrats and Congressmen, U.S. businessmen and other members of the "Japan Lobby"-but they tend to mention only in passing Japanese initiative or agency. This paper investigates the activities of the Holding Company Liquidation Commission (HCLC), a poorly understood Japanese body that scholars have tended to characterize as a tool of Occupation headquarters, one that dutifully carried out U.S. directives on business breakup and reorganization. Drawing especially on the memoirs of Noda Iwajiro, a central figure in the HCLC, the paper examines the critical part played by this agency in shaping the Occupation's business reforms and in mitigating their effects. Through skillful negotiation and persuasion, the commission contributed to a scaling back of reforms that previous studies have attributed primarily to American geopolitical, business, and financial concerns after 1947.

Venue: Room N304, 3rd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House

10 December No Country for Old Crocodiles: Fraudulent Paperworks, the Commodity Fetish, and Political Ecology in Colonial Burma

Dr Jonathan Saha, (University of Bristol)

Venue: Torrington Room 104, 1st floor, South block, Senate House