Nanjing, a city that served as the capital of multiple Chinese dynasties, mostly southern dynasties during eras of political division, has experienced repeated cycles of prosperity and conquest. Stephen Owen has explored how its poetic history has transposed the actual reality of the city, turning it into a “site of memory.” Here, however, I examine the close interaction between poems about Nanjing and contemporary historical events during the Republican period.
This article examines a curious poetry exchange around a painting in early 1942 between Wang Jingwei and the top officials of his regime at Nanjing, to investigate the functions of Wang’s iconography as an assassin in constructing the legitimacy of his collaborationist regime. Wang rose to national prominence in 1910, after his failed assassination attempt on the Manchu Prince Regent.
This talk begins with a consideration of Japan’s surrender in China on September 9, 1945, in order to question the appropriateness of 1945 as the end date of WWII in Asia. The talk then considers the implications for our understandings of WWII in Asia of seeing 1945 not as an end-date but a mid point in a connected series of events that ended with the victory of the Chinese Communists in 1949. We will end with an initial consideration of wartime everydayness: what was the war like away from the battlefield as people constructed new normals?
Peter Hessler served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1996 to 1998 in Fuling, a small city in the Three Gorges region of the Yangtze River. Since then, Hessler has made frequent visits back to Fuling, where the city has been transformed by the new dam and the rapid pace of China’s development. Hessler will talk about the experience of witnessing such changes, and also about what he has learned from staying in touch with more than one hundred former students over a period of two decades.
This presentation addresses the debate on constitutional monarchy that has arisen as a consequence of the emperor of Japan announcing his wish to retire. Although over half of all past emperors have abdicated, two hundred years have elapsed since the last abdication. While public opinion is overwhelmingly positive, the postwar Imperial Household Code governing the monarchy contains no provision on abdication. Thus, a legal determination on the permissibility of abdication was required.
Co-sponsored by the Buddhist Studies Workshop.
In the popular imagination, China’s Yellow River has always been sediment-choked and flood-prone. In fact, the historical and ecological record reveals that the highly unstable and intensively managed river existed for only a few hundred years. This talk describes how the ecological record and historical data analysis can enrich our understanding of the long history of human-environment interaction along the Yellow River.