Universiteit Leiden

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Historian Carol Gluck is Leiden's new Cleveringa professor

The American historian and Japan specialist Carol Gluck is the new Leiden Cleveringa professor for the 2014–2015 academic year. On 26 November 2014 she will give the Cleveringa inaugural lecture, in which she will examine how World War II is commemorated in Asia.

Collective memories

Carol Gluck

Gluck (born 1941) is Professor of History at Columbia University and also conducts research on modern Japan and East Asia, international relations, historiography and collective memories in Asia and the West. This combination makes her an ideal Cleveringa professor, according to Wim van den Doel, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. ‘In the Netherlands, lectures about World War II are often about the horrors that occurred in Europe. We would also like to look at Asia. After all, the Second World War was really a global conflict, with dramatic effects for many people in both Asia and Europe. That’s why it’s important to consider the significance of the war for another part of the world.’

Lingering issues

In her inaugural lecture Gluck will discuss how people in Asia remember World War II. ‘It is still a very big and current topic. There are all sorts of lingering issues involved, such as calls for apologies from Japan for the suffering it inflicted on other countries,’ comments Van den Doel.


Rudolph Cleveringa

Gluck’s works include ‘Thinking with the Past: Modern Japan and History’ (2013), ‘Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon’ (2009) and ‘The End of Elsewhere: Writing Modernity Now’ (American Historical Review, 2011). She is a highly esteemed scholar both in the United States and abroad. The historian and Japan specialist is a member of the Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and sits on the boards of various organisations, including the Japan Society and the Weatherhead Foundation. She has served as guest professor at the University of Tokyo, the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and Harvard University.


A better understanding of Japan

Eduard Meijers

Besides her academic work, Gluck also endeavours to promote a better understanding of Japan among the general public, and she was long active in the Japan–US Friendship Commission. For these efforts she received the Order of the Rising Sun, a major distinction conferred by the Japanese government. Besides her inaugural lecture, Gluck’s activities in Leiden will include giving a tutorial to Honours College students.

See also

On 26 November 1940 Professor Rudolph Cleveringa, Dean of the Faculty of Law, delivered his historic speech in the Academy Building protesting against the dismissal of his Jewish colleague Eduard Meijers, Professor of Private Law. By order of the German occupying forces, all ‘non-Aryan individuals’ were removed from their posts. Cleveringa’s speech prompted a student strike, after which the Nazis closed the university in Leiden.

The Cleveringa professorship is an alternating chair with a one-year term. The Cleveringa professor’s field of research alternates between the Second World War and issues in the area of law, freedom and responsibility. Former Cleveringa professors include the historians Michael Ingatieff, Timothy Snyder and Hans Blom, food scholar Louise Fresco and Leiden special professor Job Cohen, then Mayor of Amsterdam

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