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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Klaus Dittrich

Historical sciences
(PhD Students, March 1, 2008 - May 31, 2008)
  • Transnational history

  • History of education
  • International exhibitions in the nineteenth century

Research Project

Currently I am a PhD candidate at the University of Portsmouth in England. My research project analyzes educational policies at world exhibitions in the nineteenth century. I am especially interested in current debates on transnational history. World exhibitions were one of the view institutions in the nineteenth century that brought together people from different parts of the world. Since 1867 education took an important part at these encyclopaedic shows. World exhibitions were indeed vehicles for cultural transfers of educational issues. They also served to show the effectiveness of national institutional arrangements in an international arena. The related international congresses provided an occasion to actively shape transnational issues, such as the mutual recognition of diplomas. But world exhibitions also had a role in disseminating innovative pedagogical methods and objects from the decision makers in the ministry to the ordinary teachers. My project focuses on the individual and institutional actors participating in the exhibitions, the means of presentation they used, and the actual educational ideas and policies divulged in this way.

Besides the United States, France and Germany, my project features the Japanese context. It is well known that the first Japanese mission to Europe in 1862 including Fukuzawa Yukichi visited the 1862 exhibition in London. In 1867 the shogunate organized for the first time a Japanese representation at the Paris universal exposition. At the beginning of the Meiji era Japanese administrators used the exhibitions of Vienna (1873) and Philadelphia (1876) as convenient fora in order to get informed about educational systems in countries perceived as western. Tanaka Fujimaro wrote up extensive reports on the educational exhibits. The pedagogical museum of Tōkyō with its director Tejima Seiichi received objects from the exhibitions after their closure. Later on, the Monbushō prepared educational exhibits as did the administrations of countries.