Globalizing the Social Sciences – German-East Asian Entanglements in the 19th and 20th Century

December 9, 2021

8:00-14:30 Berlin / 16:00-22:30 Tokyo

At the end of the nineteenth century, Germany was widely recognized as the premier place to study political economy, law and social sciences as summarized under the umbrella term of Sozialwissenschaften. With the relatively state-centric perspectives and the tendency to grasp the society in the context of the interplay of institutional, economic and psychological factors, the German Sozialwissenschaften significantly influenced elites from the so-called “catch-up countries” such as Russia, Japan, China, and Southern Europe, and became the standard reference for scholars from these countries, in some cases even until after WWII.

Much has been written on the circulation and recontextualization of German-language scholarship in the “catch-up countries”. Most of this has been from a bilateral perspective that conceptualizes the knowledge transfer as a linear process, and therefore it overlooks the multinational personal links and multi-fold intellectual entanglements in the context of the globally rising theoretical quest for connections and correlations of empirical facts.

In cooperation with the German Historical Institute Rome and the China Branch Office of Max Weber Stiftung, the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tokyo takes the occasion of this year’s 160th anniversary of German-Japanese Friendship as an opportunity to reexamine the legacies and pitfalls left behind by the German Sozialwissenschaften in East Asia from historical and transnational perspectives.


Afternoon Session 8:00-10:30 Berlin/16:00-18:30 Tokyo

Chair: Stefan Keppler-Tasaki (The University of Tokyo)

Opening Remarks: Franz Waldenberger/Yufei Zhou (Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien, Tokio)

Keynote Speech: Mishima Ken’ichi (Osaka University)

Zum deutsch-japanischen Transfer der Sozialwissenschaften: Rezeption, Eigenentwicklung, Sekten-Abkapselung

Wolfgang Schwentker (Osaka University)

Wechselwirkungen: Odaka Tomoo und die deutsche Soziologie um 1930

Egas Moniz-Bandeira (Max-Planck-Institut für Rechtsgeschichte und Rechtstheorie)

Adopting German Law to Counter Western Influences: Chinese Diplomats, Students, and Revolutionaries in Early 20th-Century Berlin

Christina Phillips (Max Weber Stiftung, China-Büro)

Zur Rettung Chinas? Chinesische Studierende und Sozialwissenschaften im Deutschland der Zwischenkriegszeit

Yufei Zhou (Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien, Tokio)

The German Impact on the Economic Thought in Republican China

Discussant: Zhang Chunjie (University of California, Davis)

Evening Session 12:00-14:30 Berlin/20:00-22:30 Tokyo

Chair: Stefan Keppler-Tasaki (The University of Tokyo)

Carlo Taviani (Deutsches Historisches Institut in Rom)

Forging the Business Corporation: Interpretation of Medieval Organizational Forms by the Historische Rechtsschule, and its Legacy in Japan

Takii Kazuhiro (International Research Center for Japanese Studies)

The German “Staatswissenschaft” in Meiji Japan

Onozuka Tomoji (The University of Tokyo)

Lujo Brentano and Social Sciences in Japan between 1890s and 1940s: Social Statistics, TAKANO Iwasaburō and FUKUDA Tokuzō

Erik Grimmer-Solem (Wesleyan University)

Empirical Empire: Karl Rathgen, Kanai Noboru, and the Development of Applied Social Science in Japan

Tsuneki Kentarō (Senshu University)

“Becoming” (Werden) and “Being of Having Become” (Gewordensein): Criticism of Max Weber in Japan during WWII

General Discussion

Closing Remarks

Cite this blog post
Max Weber Stiftung (2021, November 15). Globalizing the Social Sciences – German-East Asian Entanglements in the 19th and 20th Century. Wissen entgrenzen. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from

Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, focused on the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Our research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with different and independent fields of focus. Through our globally operating institutes, we are able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and our host countries or regions. By promoting academic dialogue and merging academic and non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the internationalization of research.

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