Tuesday, September 1, 2015

International symposium in Denmark

Tokai University Institute of Civilization Research, where I am one of the members, is going to hold a two-day academic event in November 13-14. The venue is Tokai University European Center, in Vedbaek, Denmark (30kilometer north of Copenhagen).

As you can see in the proposal, this event has a very unique character that focuses on the difference of civilization between Europe and Japan (including cultural difference), and tries to promote dialogue. 

We have several slots available for individual papers on Saturday, 14th. If you are interested in presenting your idea, please send me an email (shg.tanaka [a] gmail.com) by September 15th. I will communicate the further details. 

International symposium
Civilization Dialogue between Europe and Japan: 
--Responsibilities of academic research in an era of the ‘clash of civilizations’--

Currently, globalisation has been rapidly advancing worldwide. As many have noted, the 20th century was a ‘century of war’ as seen in the two World Wars and the Cold War. The world in the 21st century is concerned about the ‘clash of civilisations’, where the state of international order reflects a multi-polarization of world politics along with the progress of post-colonialization. Despite this tendency, it is impossible without cooperation among the international community to find solutions to issues such as climate change caused by global warming, which poses a threat even to human existence.
     The present world lies in between two conflicting forces. On the one hand, escaping the West-centred civilisation, lifestyles formed in diverse natural environments in different world regions have been increasingly reconstructed as have the individual civilisations based on them. On the other hand, cooperation beyond the nation and community has become crucial for the resolution of global environmental problems, which are the results of extensive exploitation of natural resources through science-based technologies developed in modern civilization. To pursue ‘sustainable development’, it might be essential not only to resolve actual policy challenges but also to pool accumulated knowledge from different civilisations of the world and to create a dialogue between them for mutual understanding and cooperation.
     Since its establishment in 1959, Tokai University Institute of Civilization Research has been promoting studies on various civilisations that humans have formed in different regions. The study of civilisation itself does not form a single discipline. Given that various human activities such as the modes of production, lifestyle, rituals and social practices, collectively form a civilisation, the overview of a specific civilisation cannot be obtained without an integration of findings from each field. The Institute of Civilization Research has been working on a comprehensive study of contemporary civilisations under a project called ‘Trans-Disciplinary Humanities’ as its key focus from this year.
     In light of the above, we have decided to host a conference on ‘Civilization Dialogue’ between Europe and Japan. The foundation of contemporary civilisation is arguably underpinned by values formed in modern Europe, which is especially symbolised by scientific knowledge and its application in industrial technology. Japanese society has proactively accepted not only science and technology but also the western social system and associated values since the beginning of modernisation in the Meiji era. However, modernisation of Japanese society is not necessarily equivalent to westernisation. Traditional values have remained in various aspects. This symposium aims to compare and re-examine views of people, society and nature underlying the civilisations of Europe and Japan. This is an attempt to find an academic response to two conflicting forces that the globalising society is dealing with currently.
     It is a great pleasure and of significance for Tokai University to host such an academic symposium in Denmark. Having witnessed the Danish national revival achieved through the education in the 19th and 20th centuries, the founder of Tokai University determined to establish a new educational institution in Japan. Tokai University was founded on the basis of the spirit and system of Danish education, which also led to Tokai University European Center being established in Denmark. Tokai University will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its foundation in 2017. The Institute of Civilization Research would like to take this research conference as the first step towards further development of civilisation studies and the 100th anniversary to come.

Yoichi Hirano (Vice-Chancellor, Tokai University)
Nobukata Kutsuzawa (Executive Director, Tokai University Institute of Civilization Research)
Shogo Tanaka (Tokai University Institute of Civilization Research)

Tokai University, Institute of Civilization Research
Tokai University, European Center

Tokai University, European Center
Vedbaek Strandvej 476, 2950 Vedbaek, Denmark

<November 13th, Friday>
14:00-14:30   Welcome & Introduction
14:30-17:30   Symposium: “Civilization Dialogue between Europe and Japan” (TBA)
18:00-20:00   Dinner
<November 14th, Saturday>
09:30:10:30   Keynote Address (TBA)
10:30-12:00   Paper Session (1)
12:00-13:00   Lunch
13:00-14:30   Paper Session (2)
14:30-14:40   Closing