Viewed from the angle of social experience, the global and civil conflicts that enveloped China and Taiwan from the 1930s through the 1950s look less like discrete wars and revolutions, and more like continual warfare. Drawing on local materials, this talk describes this period as one of displacement and prolonged mobilization, with consequences for community and sovereignty on numerous levels. The result raises questions about the continued utility of Cold War historical frameworks.
Rebecca Nedostup is Associate Professor of History at Brown University. She is the author of Superstitious Regimes: Religion and the Politics of Chinese Modernity (Harvard Asia Center, 2009), and several other publications on religion and politics in modern China, most recently “Finding Nature in Religion, Hunting Religion from the Environment” in Religious Diversity & Ecological Sustainability in China (Routledge, 2014; Academy Press, 2013). Her current work focuses on displacement, community formation, and the agency of the dead; she is a co-organizer and co-editor of the ongoing project "The Social Lives of Dead Bodies in Modern China". This year she is a fellow at the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University, where she is writing “Living and Dying in the Long War: Tales of Displacement in China and Taiwan, 1937-1959.”