European Association for Japanese Studies

Prof. Dr. David MERVART


I wish to thank members of the EAJS for the trust expressed by my nomination as a candidate for the office of Secretary of our organization for the next election period. Although I was not seeking office and the nomination came as a surprise, I accept gladly and offer my experience and ability however modest to the services of an organization whose mission I treasure and whose importance I deeply appreciate.

At the start of my own academic career I myself benefited greatly from the collegial atmosphere, friendly exchanges and informal contacts that the EAJS conferences, PhD workshops and networking initiatives created. EAJS played a key role in initiating me into the scholarly community and made me feel a welcome member of it. But even after clinching a stable job I have kept coming back. Given that most of us carry on our research in small departments where often no one else shares the same disciplinary background combined with a focus on East Asia, EAJS to most of us has become the nearest indispensable faculty lobby where we return to continue the interrupted discussions and update ourselves on what colleagues have been reading and writing behind the otherwise closed doors down the corridor. I feel strongly that those of us who have enjoyed this privileged and sustaining environment at key moments of our professional paths have a responsibility to keep the same launchpad in at least as good a state of maintenance as we ourselves once found it. I hope I can make a contribution to this task.

Beyond servicing its own members, of course, EAJS has another, even more critical task, that of serving as a bridge between our area-specific scholarship and the societies in which we work as educators and researchers. Although our membership has a truly global composition and presence, the ‘European’ tag must mean more than the habitual location of our conference venues. ‘Europe’ is not only the geographic and institutional space within which many of us operate, it is also a problem and challenge we face as students of things non-European. Making Europe into a less parochially self-centered and historically myopic place must come from mediating perspectives, experiences and knowledge that are of non-European and non-western provenience and ultimately making these into a part of mainstream debates, popular awareness and basic education. There is no need to overestimate our modest role in this daunting process, but by giving the disciplines connected to Japanese studies a critical mass and visibility on this continent, with the help of our many overseas colleagues, EAJS has the potential of helping to make this happen. It would be an honor for me to have a small administrative part in this undertaking.

Curriculum Vitae

2017/10– Associate Professor (Profesor Contratado Doctor), Centro de Estudios de Asia Oriental, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM)

2014–2017 Visiting Lecturer (Profesor Visitante), Centro de Estudios de Asia Oriental, UAM

2009–2014 Assistant Professor of Japanese History, Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context’, Heidelberg University

2009/5–9 Postdoctoral Researcher, Modern East Asia Research Centre, University of Leiden

2009/1–4 Research Fellow, Oriental Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

2009 PhD in History of East Asian Political Thought, Graduate School of Law and Politics, University of Tokyo

2005 M.A. in Japanese Studies, Charles University in Prague

1999 B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy, Charles University in Prague


List of selected publications

Mervart, David. Forthcoming, 2020. “Reading European Universal Histories in Japan, 1790s–1840s.” In: Historical Journal.

Mervart, David. 2018. “Analects for Schoolgirls and Underemployed Warriors: Testing a Cultural History of Confucianism in Japan.” In: Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 78:1, pp. 181–199.

Mervart, David. 2015. “The Republic of Letters Comes to Nagasaki: Record of a Translator’s Struggle.” In: Journal of Transcultural Studies, 2:2 (2015), pp. 8–37.

Mervart, David. 2015. “Meiji Japan’s China Solution to Tokugawa Japan’s China Problem.” In: Japan Forum, 27:4, pp. 544–558.

Mervart, David. 2013. “Keizai no shisō,” 経済の思想. In: Iwanami Kōza Nihon no Shisō, vol. 6: Chitsujo to kihan. 岩波講座日本の思想 第六巻秩序と規範, eds. Karube Tadashi et al. (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten), pp. 177–212.