Fellow's Seminar: Ms. Aleksandra Majstorac-Kobiljski

Invitation to the Fellow's Seminar (on September 10, 2009)

The Japan Foundation
Europe, Middle East and Africa Division

The Japan Foundation would like to welcome you to join us for the Fellows' Seminar. The presenter is Ms. Aleksandra Majstorac-Kobiljski from Serbia.

Date: Thursday, September 10, 2009
Time: 14:00-15:30
Venue: JFIC Space “KEYAKI” at the Japan Foundation Head Office.
(4-4-1 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo) Access
AdmissionAdmission Fee: Free
Language: English (no interpretation)
Contact: If you would like to attend the seminar, please notify Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange Dept. by September 9, 2009 with your name, affiliation, and contact information (tel., fax or e-mail).
If you would apply by e-mail, please be aware to write the name of the presenter and the date of the seminar in the title. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

[Contact Address]
Tel: 03-5369-6071/ Fax: 03-5369-6041  E-mail
Presenter: Ms. Aleksandra Majstorac-Kobiljski
Ms. Majstorac-Kobiljski is a PhD Candidate at Department of History, The Graduate Center CUNY. As a Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Fellow 2008-2009, she is currently carrying out her research concerning ‘Learning to be modern in Kyoto and Beirut’ at Dōshisha University.
Presentation Theme: “From Beirut to Kyoto: Travels and Trials of a 19th century Educational Model"

Dōshisha University opened in 1875 in Kyoto with eight students, two teachers and the backing of the oldest and richest US missionary board.
How did an orthodox Protestant organization like the American Board for Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) decide to fund an institution of higher education with a largely secular curriculum? How did this decision change the face of American missionary establishment in the decades to follow? In Japan, Dōshisha seemed the work of one man – Niijima Jo, first Japanese to graduate Amherst College and Andover Theological Seminary, and the first to be ordained Protestant pastor. However, the unprecedented decision of an evangelical body to build, in the 1870s, a secular college like Dōshisha is in large part a result of the establishment of the American University of Beirut by a group of renegade ABCFM missionaries a decade before.

Unforeseen by the elders in Boston, these missionary colleges grew to be, not triggers of conversion, but vehicles for learning English language, politics, journalism, public speaking, and medicine.  For their part, missionaries had to reinvent themselves from proselytizers to teachers, embrace modern science, and learn to tolerate religious diversity. Thus, the zealous evangelizers of the 19th century became liberal Protestants of the 20th in such unexpected places as Beirut and Kyoto.

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