Thursday, November 16th : Jonathan Henshaw “Remembering and Forgetting: Commemorations of the Second World War in Nanjing”

Jonathan Henshaw

PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of British Columbia

“Remembering and Forgetting: Commemorations of the Second World War in Nanjing”

Thursday, November 16th 4:00-6:00 PM

John Hope Franklin Room [SSR 224]

Discussant: Kyle Pan, University of Chicago History Department

Please join the East Asia: Transregional Histories workshop in welcoming Jonathan Henshaw [University of British Columbia] as he presents his work-in-progress, titled “Remembering and Forgetting: Commemorations of the Second World War in Nanjing.” Mr. Henshaw provides the following abstract:

The manipulation of wartime commemoration in China by the CCP exists as a commonplace in English-language scholarship. Under the People’s Republic, the retreat of Maoism, contact with Taiwan and renewed (anti-Japanese) nationalism have indeed provided context for recent manipulation of wartime commemorations, but such accounts cut short much of the history of wartime commemoration in China by beginning only in the 1980s. Nanjing, as a former capital, has a large collection of monuments and relics that suggest a longer, more complex narrative. This paper marks an intervention in the literature by extending the history of Chinese wartime commemoration back to 1938, while the war still raged, and by setting the received national narrative of the war against the local record contained in commemorative sites in Nanjing and local accounts of the war. In doing so, it opens a productive space for considering the dynamic between local and national narratives, and also points to how efforts to commemorate the war have evolved in step with developments in China’s international relations. As Gail Hershatter has suggested of the practice of “speaking bitterness,” the post-war national narrative of resistance has China functioned more as a matrix that local or individual accounts must be recuperated within (or be forgotten), as opposed to an outright script. Drawing on newspaper reports, steles and Chinese secondary sources dealing with Nanjing, this paper traces the history of wartime commemoration to its earliest iteration in the wartime era, when collaborationist Nanjing politicians were faced with the task of mourning the dead in a city that was both under Japanese occupation, and still reeling from the 1937 Nanjing massacre. Following the war, Chiang Kai-shek’s victorious Nationalists returned to Nanjing and appropriated the site of a former Japanese Shinto shrine for use as a museum that advanced their own triumphalist narrative of resistance. The establishment of the PRC in 1949 greatly reduced such public commemorations, which fit uneasily within the reigning anti-imperialist framework, but did not entirely eliminate them. Instead, wartime commemoration was refashioned into the reigning paradigm of anti-imperialism. In 1960, when historians in Nanjing took up a formal research project on the Nanjing massacre, it was within this framework that they portrayed the war. Their work, published only in 1979, castigated Japanese brutality and Western complicity, but their anti-imperialist framework soon gave way to the more familiar rhetoric of Chinese victimhood that has taken hold in the post-Mao era. These successive revisions not only highlight the ways in which local experiences of the war have been re-worked within a national framework but also point to the malleable nature of a history that is often presented as above question in China.

Jonathan’s paper can be found in the post below.

As always, first-time attendees are welcome. Light refreshments and snacks will be served.

If you have any questions or require assistance to attend, please contact Spencer Stewart at sdstewart@uchicago.edu or Robert Burgos at rburgos@uchicago.edu

 

Friday, October 27th: Scott Relyea “‘A Fence on Which We Can Rely’: Asserting Sovereignty in Early Twentieth Century Southwest China”

Scott Relyea

Assistant Professor, Appalachian State University

‘A Fence on Which We Can Rely’: Asserting Sovereignty in Early Twentieth Century Southwest China

Friday, October 27th, 4:00-6:00 PM

John Hope Franklin Room [SSR 224]

Discussant: Tian Yuan, PhD Student, University of Chicago History Department

Please Join the East Asia: Transregional Histories Workshop in welcoming Scott Relyea [Appalachian State University] as he presents one of his current works-in-progress. Titled “Indigenzing International Law in Early Twentieth Century China: Sovereignty in the Sino-Tibetan Borderland,” Professor Relyea provides the following abstract:

This paper analyses the introduction of international law into China during the Qing Dynasty’s last decades and the first few years of the Republic of China. It explores the influence of two international law texts, the translation Wanguo gongfa (The Public Law of All States), published in Beijing in 1864, and perhaps the first indigenously written international law text in China, Gongfa daoyuan (The Origins of International Law), published in Chengdu around 1899. Building on scholarship exploring the global circulation of knowledge, which focuses largely on political and intellectual centres, this research offers an alternative perspective from the borderlands of Asia, from the interstices of global power where states and empires met and were transformed by the norms and principles of international law, especially territoriality and sovereignty. I argue that local Qing officials overseeing the Kham borderland of eastern Tibet during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries adopted the conceptual basis of international law, whereas central Qing government officials were slow to do so. It was in such contentious borderlands that theoretical claims to sovereignty under international law intersected with the actual exercise of authority, where Sichuan Province officials, influenced by these two texts, adapted the norm of territorial sovereignty to both exert and assert absolute Qing authority in Kham as a stepping stone toward the whole of Tibet. During these tumultuous years in China’s transition from imperial to state form, the actions and successes of these borderland officials in Kham fostered a more thorough adoption and application of international law principles by central government officials, especially during the first years of the Republic of China. This manifest in Republican Chinese negotiators referring to these actions in Kham as substantiation for appeal to the international law principle of ‘effective occupation’ at the Simla Conference (1913-14).

Professor Relyea’s paper can be found at the post below

As always, first-time attendees are welcome. Light refreshments and snacks will be served. This event is Co-Sponsored with the East Asia Workshop.

If you have any questions or require assistance to attend, please contact Spencer Stewart at sdstewart@uchicago.edu or Robert Burgos at rburgos@uchicago.edu

Thursday, October 19th : Kyle Gardner “Communication: Roads, Regulation and British Joint Commissioners”

Kyle Gardner

PhD Candidate, University of Chicago

“Communication: Roads, Regulation and British Joint Commissioners” Along the Hindustan-Tibet Road and Leh-Yarkand Treaty Road

Thursday, October 19th 3:00-5:00 PM

John Hope Franklin Room [SSR 224]

Discussant: Usama Rafi, University of Chicago History Department

Please join the East Asia: Transregional Histories Workshop as we welcome our own Kyle Gardner, who will be presenting a draft chapter titled “Communication: Roads, Regulation and British Joint Commissioners” from his dissertation. This chapter explores the particular histories of the Hindustan-Tibet Road and Leh-Yarkand Treaty Road from the mid 19th century onward, considering their development as regulatory mechanisms of empire as well as their status as means of both conveyance and restriction along the frontier.

Kyle’s Paper can be found in the post below.

As always, first-time attendees are welcome. Light refreshments and snacks will be served. If you have any questions or require assistance to attend, please contact Robert Burgos at rburgos@uchicago.edu or Spencer Stewart at sdstewart@uchicago.edu.

 

Thursday, Oct. 5th : Karl Gerth “The Mao Badge Fad: How a State-Sponsored Consumer Fad undermined a Revolution”

Karl Gerth

Hwei-Chih and Julia Hsiu Chair in Chinese Studies and Professor of History, UC San Diego

“The Mao Badge Fad: How a State-Sponsored Consumer Fad undermined a Revolution”

Thursday, October 5th, 4:00-6:00 PM

John Hope Franklin Room [SSR 224]

Discussant: Jake Werner, Collegiate Assistant Professor, University of Chicago

Please join the East Asia: Transregional Histories Workshop in welcoming Karl Gerth [University of California, San Diego] as he presents a part of his new manuscript focused on Consumption in Maoist-era China. Titled “The Mao Badge Fad: How a State-Sponsored Consumer Fad undermined a Revolution,” Professor Gerth provides the following abstract for his paper:

This paper reinterprets one of the most famous phenomena of the Cultural Revolution, the Mao badge fad, when tens of millions of Chinese collected billions of badges of Chairman Mao. The Cultural Revolution was intended to be the single greatest anti-bourgeois campaign of the Mao era. But in its most famous activities such as badge collecting, the Cultural Revolution also nourished a thriving bourgeois consumer culture that encouraged consumer desire, production outside of state planning, and inequality though unequal distribution and conspicuous consumption. Badge collecting was, to use Mao’s expression, the negation rather than the fulfillment of the Socialist Revolution.

Professor Gerth’s paper can be found at this post.

As always, first-time attendees are welcome. Light refreshments and snacks will be served. This event is sponsored by the Committee for Chinese Studies at the Center for East Asian Studies.

If you have any questions or require assistance to attend, please contact Spencer Stewart at sdstewart@uchicago.edu or Robert Burgos at rburgos@uchicago.edu

 

Thursday, March 30th 4:30-6:30 PM : Covell Meyskens – The Demilitarization of Chinese Socialism

Covell Meyskens

Assistant Professor, Naval Postgraduate School

“The Demilitarization of Chinese Socialism”

Thursday, March 30th, 4:30-6:30 PM

Social Sciences Tea Room (SSR, 2nd Floor)

Discussant: Weichu Wang (University of Chicago)

Please join the East Asia: Transregional Histories Workshop as we welcome University of Chicago alumni Covell Meyskens (Naval Postgraduate School), who will present the first chapter of his new book project for workshop discussion. The chapter, titled “The Demilitarization of Chinese Socialism,” examines the CCP leadership’s approach to the security of socialist China between the late 1940s when they founded the PRC and the late 1970s when a new leadership under Deng Xiaoping rose to power after Mao’s death in 1976.

As always, first-time attendees are welcome. Light refreshments and snacks will be served.

If you have any questions or require assistance to attend, please contact Jessa Dahl at jdahl@uchicago.edu or Erin Newton at emnewton@uchicago.edu.

Thurs. Feb. 9 **4:30 PM** : Stacie Kent “Commercial Treaties: A Framework for Governance”

Stacie Kent

Collegiate Assistant Professor, University of Chicago

“Commercial Treaties: A Framework for Governance”

February 9, 2017

4:30 – 6:30 PM

John Hope Franklin Room, SSR 224

**Please note the time change from 4:00 to 4:30**

Discussants:

Kenneth Pomeranz, University Professor of Modern Chinese History and the College, University of Chicago

Carl Kubler, University of Chicago History Department

In the first decade of the 19th century, European opinions about China and its trade policies began to shift towards bellicose opposition. China was denounced as backwards and antisocial, its administrators as arbitrary and self-interested. With this critique in mind, this paper examines the significance of Qing commercial treaties to global commercial and geopolitical integration as well as everyday commercial administration. It argues that Qing commercial treaties should be seen as part of a global effloresce in treaty making that attempted to rationalize and simplify global trade by curtailing the prerogatives and decision making power of local political authorities. Presented as a means to codify a natural community of equal nations, treaties naturalized the abstract compulsions of capital growth and offered a new interface between political authorities and global commerce that generated new limits on the exercise of official power. In China evolving treaty language gradually erased Qing claims to govern trade through flexible decision-making and mutual obligations between merchants and government authorities. In their stead, the treaties called for a novel static regulatory framework and rote official actions.

Professor Kent has been kind enough to provide us with both a chapter and the book proposal from her current project. Both can be found at the East Asia: Transregional Histories workshop website below.

As always, first-time attendees are welcome. Light refreshments and snacks will be served.
If you have any questions or require assistance to attend, please contact Jessa Dahl at jdahl@uchicago.edu or Erin Newton at emnewton@uchicago.edu.