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Sven Trakulhun

Asian Revolutions: European Conceptions of Political Crisis and Historical Change in the Orient, 1650-1830 (24.06.2014)

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the political landscape of Asia changed dramatically. From the Ottoman Empire to Persia, from North India and Southeast Asia to China and Japan, Asian monarchies underwent processes of dynastic decline, experiencing radical and pervasive changes in society and culture. These events attracted the attention of a wide array of European commentators. My talk explores the ideological purposes and orientations of their reports and discussions and aims at locating Asia in the genealogy of Western concepts of revolution and political change from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. Focusing on China in particular, I will touch on four contexts: (1) (Asian) revolutions in European political language; (2) narratives of Asian revolutions colonial and travel writing; (3) historiography; (4) in European drama, novel, and visual art.

Sven Trakulhun Trakulhun

Assistant Professor of Modern History of Asia at the University of Zurich.

Main Research:

  • History of Thailand and Southeast Asia
  • History of the European Expansion in Asia,
  • Transnational History of Ideas
  • History of Transfers between Europe and Asia


  • Hg. (mit T. Fuchs), Das eine Europa und die Vielfalt der Kulturen. Beiträge zur Kulturtransferforschung in Europa 1600-1850, Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag 2003.
  • Siam und Europa. Das Königreich Ayutthaya in westlichen Berichten 1500-1670 (Reihe: Formationen Europas, Bd. 2), Hannover-Laatzen: Wehrhahn-Verlag 2006 (auch erschienen inder Schriftenreihe der Deutsch-Thailändischen Gesellschaft, Bd. 24). Überarbeitete Fassung der Dissertation
  • (Hg., mit Ralph Weber), Modernities: Sites, Concepts and Temporalities in Asia and Europe, New York: SUNY Press (erscheint 2012).
  • (Hg., mit Henning Trüper), Biography Afield in Asia and Europe (=Asiatische Studien/Etudies Asiatiques, issue no. 4, 2013)