The Politics of War Related Heritage in Contemporary Asia Symposium, September 2019

This event builds on a successful ongoing interdisciplinary project on the politics of war memory in Asian societies – the WARMAP project – led by Dr. Mark Frost of Essex University, in collaboration with Prof. Edward Vickers of Kyushu University and Professor Tim Winter of the University of Western Australia. It will be held with a small amount of co-funding from the Daiwa Foundation and Resona Foundation.



Session 1 (Leader: Mark Frost, University of Essex, UK)

History, Historiography and Public Culture

This session discusses the history and politics of conflict commemoration in contemporary Asia, with particular reference to memories of the Asia-Pacific War. It will analyze both what has been commemorated, and why issues of war remembrance have acquired political significance at particular times and in particular places across the region.

Speakers: Mark Frost (Essex), Xiaoyang Hao (Kyushu, doctoral student), Mike Lam (NCCU), Daniel Schumacher (Essex), Amae Yoshihisa (Chung Jung Christian University, Taiwan), Hayashi Hiro (Kyushu, doctoral student)

Session 2 (Leader: Edward Vickers, Kyushu University)

Commemorating Conflict: Education, State Propaganda and Museums

This session analyses the narration of histories of conflict in vehicles for state propaganda and/or political socialization – especially school textbooks and museums. The speakers will discuss how the narration of experiences of war and occupation has been related to official discourses of national identity in contemporary Asian societies. A key theme will be the relationship between the construction of national ‘selves,’ often conceived in terms of victimhood and (violated) innocence, and the frequent portrayal of ‘others’ as malevolent perpetrators of violence or invasion.

Speakers: Edward Vickers (Kyushu U.), Mark Maca (Kyushu U. / independent scholar), Su Zhiliang (SNU), Shiho Maehara (Kyushu), Yang Biao (ECNU)

Session 3 (Leader: Jung-sun N. Han, Korea University)

Conflict Heritage, Tourism and the Built Environment

In this session, the speakers – including architects, political scientists and historians – will discuss the importance across contemporary Asia of heritage sites, both as symbols of a national or communal past, and as resources for a growing (and often transnational) tourist industry. Speakers will discuss how and why particular sites have been protected, destroyed or reconstructed, and the implications of this for domestic discourses on identity, and for international relations.

Speakers: Jung-Sun N. Han (Korea University), Hamzah Muzaini (National University of Singapore), Hyun-kyung Lee (Seoul National University); Huang Shu-mei (NTU); Yujie Zhu (ANU)

Session 4 (Leader: Tim Winter, University of Western Australia)

Politics, Diplomacy and Conflict-related Heritage

In this session, Tim Winter, one of the most prominent experts on the international politics of heritage, will lead a discussion of recent transnational arguments over conflict commemoration. A particular focus here will be on UNESCO’s schemes for registering ‘World Heritage Sites’ or ‘Memory of the World’. The speakers will discuss particular controversies in comparative perspective, in an attempt to elucidate the reasons why these UNESCO processes have become a particular source of international controversy in the East Asian region.

Speakers: Tim Winter (UWA), Ryoko Nakano (Kanagawa), Emilia Heo (APU), Wantanee Suntikul (Hong Kong Polytechnic University), Martin Chung (HKBU), Edward Vickers (Kyushu),

Session 5 (Leader: Tomoko Ako, Tokyo University)

Civil Society, Grassroots Movements and Conflict Commemoration

While previous sessions mostly deal with the politics of conflict commemoration from the perspective of the state (or of international bodies like UNESCO), in this session the speakers will consider war remembrance from a grassroots perspective. Speaking in many cases from personal experience, they will reflect on the reasons why groups of activists have coalesced around particular issues, and on the official and popular reception that has met such campaigns for commemoration or preservation of war-related heritage. Besides campaigns for commemoration of the Asia-Pacific War, the session also features discussion of others (in Korea and Taiwan) focused on post-war conflict that acknowledge (or arouse) different patterns of antagonism.

Speakers: Tomoko Ako (Tokyo), Caroline Norma (RMIT), Heisoo Shin (Ewha Women’s University), Watanabe Yosuke (Osaka University of Economics and Law), representative of the 228 Peace Foundation (Taipei)

Session 6 - WARMAP Workshop (Leader: Edward Vickers, Kyushu University)

Publications, Outreach and Ongoing Collaboration

In this wrap-up workshop, Vickers and colleagues from the WARMAP network, along with several key international guests and Kyushu University colleagues, will discuss:

(a) Follow-up and outputs related to the discussions at this preparatory symposium

(b) Preparations for the major international symposium in July 2020, which many leading participants in this event will also attend

(c) Core WARMAP members will meet to discuss upcoming publications and work on their upcoming book manuscript

Speakers: Edward Vickers, Mark Frost, Jung-Sun N. Han, Tim Winter, Tomoko Ako - plus Daniel Schumacher, Hamzah Muzaini, Hyun-kyung Lee, Aizawa and other Kyudai colleagues

For more information, please contact Edward Vickers