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From Intellectual Co-operation to International Cultural Exchange: Japan and China in the International Committee on Intellectual Co-operation of the League of Nations, 1922-1939

Saikawa, Takashi

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Along with the recent rise of new historical narratives of the League of Nations, growing attention has been paid to the International Committee on Intellectual Co-operation (ICIC) as a pionner international organization for cultural exchange preceding UNESCO. Motivated by the new approach of Transcultural History, this thesis examines the ICIC as an international stage where various actors such as intellectuals, private organizations, governments and the ICIC itself come into conflict over the idea of intellectual co-operation, and it places an emphasis on the ICIC’s historical process of transformation. In so doing, the thesis firstly employs the distinction of two cultures: the universality of culture based on Western civilization and the particularity of culture based on national cultures. Secondly, it places a great emphasis on the involvements of non-Western countries in the ICIC’s work of intellectual co-operation, particularly Japan and China. Thirdly, it employs the empirical historical method and pursues a multi-archival approach in order to examine the transcultural relationship between the ICIC, Japan and China. In these respects, this thesis demonstrates the process of the establishment of the ICIC with special reference to the Union des Associations Internationales, stressing that the ICIC began with the universalistic idea of intellectual co-operation based on Western civilization. Turning its focus toward Japan and China, the thesis argues that the primary purpose of Japan’s intellectual co-operation was to introduce Japanese culture in the West in close conjunction with the Japanese government, while discussing that China’s intellectual co-opeartion was implemented as part of the governmental policy for its national reconstruction. Returning its attention to the ICIC again, the thesis reveals the ideological shift of the ICIC’s idea of intellectual co-operation in the 1930s. In particular, it argues that, confronted with backlashes from Japan and China, the ICIC in the 1930s shifted its emphasis in the idea of intellectual co-operation from the universality of culture based on Western civilization to the particulality of culture based on national cultures.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Herren-Oesch, Prof. Dr. Madeleine
Date of thesis defense: 21 March 2014
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2016 09:09
Date: 2016
Faculties / Institutes: Philosophische Fakultät > Historisches Seminar
Subjects: 320 Political science
940 General history of Europe
950 General history of Asia Far East
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