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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Kristin Meißner

Modern history
(PhD Students, September 1, 2013 - November 30, 2013)

Kristin Meißner studied History and Philosophy at the Humboldt University in Berlin and from 2004-2005 at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Since spring 2011 she works on a dissertation on “Expertise as a political resource. British and German oyatoi in the Meiji-era”, which is funded by a scholarship of the Gerda Henkel Foundation. The dissertation is supervised by Prof. Dr. Sebastian Conrad from Free University Berlin.

Research interests:

History of international / transnational relations in the 19th and 20th century (with special emphasis on European-Japanese relations), intellectual history, global history.



Working title: „Expertise as political resource. British and German oyatoi in the Meiji-era.“

The dissertation explores the role and the experiences of British and German oyatoi gaikokujin (lit. hired foreigners) in the Meiji-era. In the first part of the project it is the aim to examine the official and unofficial strategies of the British, German and Japanese government to increase political power by taking advantage of the professional capital of the engineers, professors and government advisers in the service of the Meiji government. The second part of the project focuses on the repercussions of the experts’ experiences in Japan. After their return the experts developed a self-conception of their expertise as a political resource with which they claimed higher social status and political currency in their home countries. By focusing on the formation of an politically involved expert culture at the end of the nineteenth century the project wants to outline the multiple agency of experts between the poles of transnational exchange processes and power-political antagonisms in the course of the changing international conditions at the end of 19th century.