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FOCAL: EIB Project Creates Database for Historical Research into Foreign Residents of East Asia


A new tool, the Asia Directories Database, now offers access to the names of approximately one million persons registered in The Foreign Residents Lists of the Asia Directories and Chronicles. Covering the entire area of East Asia and nearly one century (1863 to 1941), this publicly available data resource offers unique insights into the dynamics and shifting societies formed by (primarily Western) foreign residents. Additionally, FOCAL allows connecting a search result with the source material, thus providing a new perspective on the implementation of digital archives.

The database was created by the research project The Divisive Power of Citizenship at the Institute for European Global Studies, which seeks to connect current de-naturalization processes with historical precedents in order to expand the understanding of citizenship. Focusing on Western citizens in East Asia in the early 20th century, the project team examine the conditions for creating multilayered transcultural communities.

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