Birgit Tremml-Werner earned her Mag. phil. and Dr. phil. degrees in History (with a minor in Japanese Studies) from the University of Vienna. From 2013-2015 she spent two years at the University of Tokyo, among other things revising her dissertation for publication (Spain, China, and Japan in Manila, 1571-1644, Amsterdam University Press, 2015).
Before joining Linnaeus University she worked and taught as postdoctoral research associate in the HERA collective project ‘East Asian Uses of the European Past’ at the Chair for Global History at the University of Zurich (2016-2019). She was visiting professor (Professurvertretung) at the University of Vienna.
Her teaching mainly deals with the diplomatic, social and cultural history of East and Southeast Asia before 1900. Her extensive research experience in Japan, China, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and the US enables her to grasp a more complete picture of concurrent topics within the context of distinct research traditions.
Since 2019, Birgit Tremml-Werner co-hosts a global history podcast called 15past15: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/15past15-podcast-series/id1449706934
At Linnaeus University I teach in the Master Programme Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. I have been teaching numerous courses on theories, methods and research problems in global history at both the undergraduate and graduate levels for more than ten years. I like to encourage my students to search for patterns and connections whilst both challenging and remaining true to the established methods of historical research.
During the winter term 2019/20 I was appointed a full-time teaching lectureship (Vertretungsprofessur) for pre-modern economic history from a global perspective at the University of Vienna. In addition, I have supervised bachelor and master theses in the field of either Japanese and global history in Vienna and Zurich.
I supervise and examine BA/MA theses and dissertation projects on subjects related to global history and postcolonial studies. I particularly welcome proposals in the fields of Japanese history, Southeast Asian maritime relations, colonial encounters, diplomatic history and global intellectual history.
H2020 MSCA EcoDip SEA Grant #101023758 ends on 30 April 2023. Below I will share the main results of the action below.
Being a study in global history at the interface of international relations and Asian studies, EcoDip SEA has explored how diplomatic practices and foreign relations were shaped in the pluralistic, multi-centric, open geography of maritime Southeast Asia during the seventeenth and eighteenth century. The study has fundamentally changed the understanding of the relationship between colonial powers and local polities and nuanced the way we think about historical negotiation practices.
Hosted at the interdisciplinary Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, EcoDip SEA created essential novel insights and prepared material for the dissemination of this new knowledge by re-addressing early modern diplomatic encounters in Southeast Asia in multiple sources written in various languages. Through archival research, a deep reading of various fields of literature, and in-depth discussions with scholars across disciplines, EcoDip SEA has highlighted the scope of Southeast Asian agency in political and economic developments. This way older narratives of passive Southeast Asian stakeholders and the dominance of European practices such as gunboat diplomacy, embassies, or treaty-making could be challenged and put in perspective.
The project integrated the rich history of negotiations and cross-cultural communication between indigenous Southeast Asian stakeholders and various actors from Europe, the Americas, and other parts of Asia into a global history of diplomacy beyond binaries and ethnocentric master narratives. As bargaining processes and political changes could be studied from a Southeast Asian vantage point, EcoDip SEA introduced the concept of the diplomatic encounter for the study of relevant processes and practices in their own time and under consideration of their specific political culture. It compared different acts of negotiation including the foreign relations of insular Muslim chiefdoms including Ternate and Banten, European colonial powers and their agents, city-states such as Makassar, and of indigenous polities and intermediaries such as the Pampangans.
The project resulted in four peer-reviewed open-access publications (two journal articles, and two handbook articles), a book chapter, an edited volume, and several public outreach deliverables including a conference on Communicating Diplomacy and 18 conference papers.
All publications will be available in Diva once they have been released by the respective presses.
An important achievement linked to the project is the co-founded Global Diplomacy Network: GDN is an international network seeks to advance the fields of global and diplomatic history by fostering a comparative, transregional, and connected understanding of the development and practice of inter-polity relations across the globe in the period between 1400 and 1900.
A further important output concerns benefit sharing through global seminars with students at the Asian Center of the University of the Philippines, Diliman and with students of the East Asian Studies master program at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
My research groups
Cluster for Colonial Connections and Comparisons The Research Cluster for Colonial Connections and Comparisons aims to uncover the complex links that operated within and across the borders of empires,…
Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies The Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies is a leading centre for Colonial…
My ongoing research projects
Project: Encountering Diplomacy in Early Modern Southeast Asia: Actors, Practices, Translation This project examines negotiations and cross-cultural communication in maritime Southeast Asia between…
Project: Imperial Expansion and Intercultural Diplomacy: Treaty-making in Southeast Asia, c.1750−1920 This collaborative research project in Global and Diplomatic History investigates the often…
Article in journal (Refereed)
Tremml-Werner, B. (2023). The Elephant in the Archive : Knowledge Construction and Late Eighteenth-Century Global Diplomacy. Itinerario : International Journal on the History of European Expansion and Global Interaction. 47 (2). 185-202.
Tremml-Werner, B. (2021). Narrating Japan's early modern southern expansion. The Historical Journal. 64 (1). 139-161.
Jenco, L., Tremml-Werner, B. (2021). Historiography of the Other : Global History and the Indigenous Pasts of Taiwan. Inetrnational Journal of Taiwan Studies. 4 (2). 218-247.
Hellman, L., Tremml-Werner, B. (2021). Translation in Action : Global Intellectual History and Early Modern Diplomacy. Journal of the History of Ideas. 82 (3). 453-467.
Tremml-Werner, B. (2021). A Question of Political Correctness : Translating Friendship across Time and Space. Journal of the History of Ideas. 82 (3). 503-520.
Tremml-Werner, B., Hellman, L. (2020). Merely “ad hoc” diplomacy? A global historical comparison of early modern Japanese–Spanish and Qing-Russian foreign relations. Diplomatica. A Journal of Diplomacy and Society. 2 (1). 57-78.
Tremml-Werner, B., Hellman, L., Van Meersbergen, G. (2020). Introduction : Gift and Tribute in Early Modern Diplomacy. Diplomatica. 2 (2). 185-200.
Tremml-Werner, B., Goetze, D. (2019). A Multitude of Actors in Early Modern Diplomacy. Journal of Early Modern History. 23 (5). 407-422.
Tremml-Werner, B. (2017). Marginal Players and Intra-network Connections : New Perspectives on the Manila Trade, c. 1640-1780. Journal of Social Sciences and Philosophy. 29 (4). 599-626.
- Tremml-Werner, B. (2022). 馬尼拉的誕生：大航海時代西班牙、中國、日本的交會. Taipei, Amsterdam University Press.
- Tremml-Werner, B. (2015). Spain, China and Japan in Manila, 1571-1644 : local comparisons and global connections. Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press.
Chapter in book (Refereed)
- Tremml-Werner, B. (2022). Perception and Self-Representation of Friars Serving as Adhoc envoys in early modern Asia 1574-1662. Das diplomatische Selbst in der Frühen Neuzeit/The Diplomatic Sef in Early Modern Times : Verhandlungsstrategien Erzählweisen Beziehungsdynamiken/Negotiating Narrating Shaping Relations. Münster, Aschendorff Verlag. 221-236.
- Tremml-Werner, B. (2021). Persistent Piracy in Philippine Waters : Metropolitan Discourses about Chinese, Dutch, Moro, and Japanese Coastal Threats, 1570-1800. Piracy in World History. Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press. 199-223.
- Tremml-Werner, B. (2020). The Global and the Local in Early Modern Manila’s Communication Spaces. Philippine Confluence : Iberian, Chinese and Islamic Currents, C. 1500-1800. Leiden, Leiden University Press. 191-216.
- Tremml-Werner, B. (2020). Migrant Agencies in the Early Modern Manila Bay. Migrants and the Making of the Urban-Maritime World Agency and Mobility in Port Cities, c. 1570–1940. New York, Routledge. 19-43.
- Tremml-Werner, B. (2016). Friend or foe? Intercultural diplomacy between Momoyama Japan and the Spanish Philippines in the 1590s. Sea rovers, silver, and samurai : maritime East Asia in global history, 1550–1700. Honolulu, University of Hawai'i Press. 65-85.
Chapter in book (Other academic)
- Tremml-Werner, B. (2018). Agentes dobles en el Japón de la edad moderna. El espionaje ecónomico y religioso de los visitantes hispanos. ¿Si fuera cierto? : Espías y agentes en la frontera (siglos XVI-XVII). Alcalá de Henares, Publicaciones Universidad de Alcalá (UAH). 143-164.
- Tremml-Werner, B. (2017). Zwangsumsiedlungen und »Wirtschaftsflüchtlinge« im und aus dem Chinesischen Kaiserreich. Erzwungene Exile : Umsiedlung und Vertreibung in der Vormoderne (500 bis 1850). Frankfurt am Main, Campus Verlag. 177-196.
Article, book review (Other academic)
Tremml-Werner, B. (2022). Book Review: The Perils of Interpreting: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire by Henrietta Harrison. International Journal of Maritime History. Sage Publications. 34 (3). 514-516.