Organization for Regional and Inter-regional StudiesWaseda University


【2018/1/27 The 3rd Waseda ORIS International Symposium for Junior Researchers Summary】The Global History of People/The Political Science of Transitional Justice

  • Date&Time
    Saturday, 27 January 2018 / 13:00 ~17:30
  • Venue
    Room#203, building 3, Waseda Campus
  • Language


History and political science are disciplines that are rarely in dialogue with each other, given their methodological differences and the current state of ever-widening division of academic labor. The 3rd ORIS Symposium for Junior Researchers, which took place on January 27, 2018, aimed to bridge this gap by bringing two panels of researchers – one grounded in tradition of new social history and the other steeped in statistically driven political science – to present/discuss on the themes of global people’s history and transitional justice.

panel 1
  • Speaker
    Titas Chakraborty (University of Texas at Austin)
  • Discussant
    Jesse Olsavsky (University of Pittsburgh)

The first panel consisted of two contrasting presentations. Titas Chakraborty presented an empirically detailed labor history of Bengali transporters during the British empire, demonstrating the centrality of working-class agency in understanding the transition from pre-capitalist economy to colonially administered capitalist development and clarified how the category of wage labor needs to be problematized according to the specificity of the conditions under which workers actually struggle. Jesse Olsavsky gave a sweeping intellectual survey of nineteenth-century U.S. abolitionism and focused particularly on its discourse of anti-imperialist internationalism, showing the pioneering legacy of abolitionism to be not only anti-racist politics but also radical critique of imperialist institutions that made slavery a necessity for the accumulation of wealth and economic development. The two presentations from, respectively, the micro-social and the macro-intellectual perspectives, suggested different possibilities of developing “history from below” on a global scale and, in the process, affirmed the need for radically rethinking capitalism and imperialism as a historically limited mode of production/structure of power.

panel 2
  • Speaker
    Elsa M. Voytas (PhD student, Princeton University)
  • Discussant
    Barry Hashimoto (American University of Sharjah)
    Shin Toyoda (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science)

This seminar featured transitional justice. We invited Ms. Elsa Voytas from Princeton University. Ms. Voytas addressed a question: how museums on transitional justice promote the visitors to cultivate the concepts of reconciliation.
Ms. Voytas established two hypotheses: visitors to the museums are more likely to reject the political institutions associated with the military dictatorship, and the visitors are more likely to support policies on transitional justice including victim compensation. To test these hypotheses, she conducted field experiment in Santiago, Chile, and collected data on the change of visitors’ minds on the former political systems and justice policies. Her statistical analysis supports her hypotheses, and also shows the long-term effect of museums.
Professor Barry Hashimoto commented on her research framework and statistical analysis. Mr. Shin Toyoda suggested that she could conduct a similar experiment in Yushukan War Memorial Museum in Japan. Ms. Voytas showed her interests in Mr. Toyoday’s suggestions because she was aware of external validity in her analysis.
While previous studies discuss transitional justice from historical and normative aspects, few empirical studies examine the policies. Ms. Voytas’s research presentation provided both discussants and participants with new perspectives on this topic, and fruitful discussion concluded this seminar.

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