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

 

Thursday, April 6, 4-6 PM : Kyle Pan — Aiding War Criminals in the “New” Japan

Kyle Pan

University of Chicago

“Aiding War Criminals in the ‘New’ Japan: A Study of The War Convicted Benefit Society, 1952-1958.”

April 6th, 4-6 PM

John Hope Franklin Room (SSR 224)

Please join us as the East Asia: Transregional Histories workshop welcomes our own Kyle Pan as he presents his second year seminar paper to the workshop. In “Aiding War Criminals in the ‘New’ Japan: A Study of The War Convicted Benefit Society, 1952-1958,” Kyle examines the nature and activities of The War Convicted Benefit Society from 1952 to 1958 in order to show that war crime trials and other policies intended to dismantle the “militarism” in Japanese society had unexpected yet significant consequences for the postwar Japanese state and society.

Kyle’s whole seminar paper is posted on the East Asia: Transregional Histories workshop website. He has also provided a more focused range of pages that he would like feedback on: 5-6, 13-15, 23-29, 33-34, 41-44, 47-48, 50-51 and the conclusion.

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.

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.

3/17 Zhao Ma

War Remembered, Revolution Forgotten: Envisioning the North Korean Ally in Chinese Documentary Films

Speaker: Zhao MA (Assistant Professor, Washington University in St. Louis)

Discussants: Saul Thomas (PhD Candidate, History/Anthropology) and Ling ZHANG (PhD Candidate, Cinema and Media Studies)

Date/Time: March 17, 4-6 pm

Venue: Gallery X, Smart Museum of Art (for guidelines for entering the museum, please see http://smartmuseum.uchicago.edu/visit/#guidelines)