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“‘Sick Men of East Asia’ – Masculinities in Twentieth Century China, Japan, and Korea” (working title)

Researcher: Dr. Nicolas Schillinger

The project “Masculinities in Twentieth Century China, Japan, and Korea” deals with different notions of masculinity in East Asia. It focuses on the transformation of masculinity concepts in East Asian societies in a global context, from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. The increasing entanglement of Europe, the Americas, and Asia led to the production of new knowledge, discourses, and practices and the development of new material and visual cultures that influenced the reconceptualization of gender as well as the political, economic, social and cultural roles of masculinity and femininity in East Asia. Starting in the late nineteenth century, European imperialism precipitated East Asian elites into a proverbial “crisis of masculinity” and the self-ascription of “sick men of East Asia”, and triggered political reforms and societal changes that led to the emergence of new foreign-influenced concepts of masculinity and new iconic male figurations such as the intellectual, the scientist, or the military officer. The project will deal with the fundamental question of what does it mean to be a man? A number of subprojects will examine different changing masculinities in East Asia throughout the twentieth century.

CV: Nicolas Schillinger is a lecturer at the Institute of China Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. He received his doctoral degree in History from Heidelberg University in 2013, where he was a member of the Research Cluster Asia and Europe in a Global Context. His teaching and research interests include the history of gender and body, military history, and the cultural history of Modern China. His book The Body and Military Masculinity in Late Qing and Early Republican China: The Art of Governing Soldiers is forthcoming in winter 2016 (Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group).

Period: October 2016 to September 2017.