Dr. Robert Kramm is a global and cultural historian of the 19th and 20th centuries with a main focus on modern Japan, the history of everyday life and the history of the body, gender and sexuality. Before joining HKU’s Society of Fellows in the Humanities, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, University of Konstanz. In 2015, he earned his PhD in history at ETH Zurich with a thesis entitled “Sanitized Sex: Regulating Prostitution, Venereal Disease and Intimacy in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952,” recently published as a monograph with University of California Press (2017).
At HKU Robert Kramm is working on his second book project tentatively called “Radical Utopian Communities: A Global History from the Margins, c. 1890-1950.” The book will examine communes in Japan, but also Jamaica, Palestine, and South Africa, ranging from religious sects to secular socio-political communes. Communes are significant hubs for the meeting of people across national and imperial boundaries. The selection of cases deliberately encompasses spatially and ideologically separated people and movements in different cultural, political and social contexts. The project’s aim is to stress the interplay of diversity, difference, and similarity in the modern world. Radical utopian communities offer an ideal opportunity to analyze the range and limits of actors of globalization and the circulation of knowledge. And they afford a new vantage point from which to narrate a decentered, non-Eurocentric global history of the early twentieth century from the margins of the geographical, political and social spectrum.
At HKU Robert Kramm is affiliated with the Department of History.