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Empire as a Moral Problem: Religious Cosmopolitanism and Colonial Modernity in Northeast Asia

Taylor Atkins, Professor, Department of History, Northern Illinois University

In the early twentieth century, against the backdrop of colonial violence, the Japanese annexation of Korea, and World War I, religious and secular groups in East Asia voiced support for a new ethos of humanitarian internationalism.  This presentation examines the confluences between millenarian "new religions" such as Chŏndogyo (Korea), Åmotokyō (Japan), and Daoyuan (China), Bahá'ís, Esperantists and other groups espousing world peace, gender and social equality, and religious unity.  Under the scrutiny of the Japanese imperial state, these communities presented teachings that were inimical to colonial hierarchies, but they had to do so without resort to the standard means and methods of social, economic, and political reform, such as protests, provocative civil disobedience, lobbying, electioneering, coercion, and either the threat or actual use of political violence.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013 | 4:15 pm — 5:30 pm | RSVP Required
Encina Hall, 3rd Floor

Center for East Asian Studies
Korean Studies Program, Shorenstein APARC
The William J. Perry Professorship Fund