Beyond Suffering
328 pages, 6 x 9
5 b&w photos, 2 maps, 3 tables
Release Date:01 Jun 2012
Release Date:13 Apr 2011
Release Date:13 Apr 2011

Beyond Suffering

Recounting War in Modern China

UBC Press

China was afflicted by a brutal succession of conflicts through muchof the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Yet there has never beenclear understanding of how wartime suffering defined the nation andshaped its people.

In Beyond Suffering, a distinguished group of historians ofmodern China look beyond the geopolitical aspects of war to explore itssocial, institutional, and cultural dimensions, from child rearing andeducation to massacres and warlord mutinies. Though accounts ofwar-inflicted suffering are often fragmented or politically motivated,the authors show that they are crucial to understanding the multiplefronts on which wars are fought, experienced, and remembered. Thechapters in Part 1, “Society at War,” reveal how war andmilitarization can both structure and destabilize society, while thosein Part 2, “Institutional Engagement,” show howinstitutions and the people they represent can become pawns in largerpower struggles. Lastly, Part 3, “Memory andRepresentation,” examines the various media, monuments, andsocial controls by which war has been memorialized.   

Although many of the conflicts described in BeyondSuffering barely registered against the sweeping backdrop ofChinese history, such conflicts bring us closer to understanding war,militarism, and suffering in modern China.

This book will interest both specialists in Asian studies and historyand anyone interested in comparing the relationship between warfare,memory, and suffering across cultures.

Uniformly well-researched and written, Beyond Suffering is a book that I would use in my graduate seminars. This important work covers a wide range of topics and issues and, since few studies deal with the impact of warfare and militarization on modern China, it should find a receptive audience. Parks M. Coble, author of Chinese Capitalists in Japan’s New Order: The Occupied Lower Yangzi, 1937-1945
This is a very powerful volume, which sheds light on a variety of topics that scholarship, particularly in English, does not sufficiently cover – the wartime bombing of China, Russian imperialism in northeastern China, and the makeup of the Nationalist army during wartime. With its focus on the social history of warfare in China, Beyond Suffering makes a major contribution to the field. Rana Mitter, editor of Ruptured Histories: War and Memory in Post-Cold War Asia

James Flath is an associate professor in theDepartment of History at the University of Western Ontario and authorof The Cult of Happiness: Nianhua, Art, and History in Rural NorthChina. Norman Smith is an associate professor inthe Department of History at the University of Guelph and author ofResisting Manchukuo: Chinese Women Writers and the JapaneseOccupation.

Contributors: Timothy Brook, Blaine Chiasson, JamesFlath, Colin Green, Chang Jui-te, Diana Lary, Bernard Hung-kay Luk,Edward A. McCord, M. Colette Plum, Norman Smith, Michael Szonyi,Alexander Woodside, and Victor Zatsepine.

Introduction / James Flath and Norman Smith

Part 1: Society at War

1          Writing andRemembering the Battle against Opiates in Manchukuo / NormanSmith

2          War,Schools, China, Hong Kong: 1937-49 / Bernard Hung-kay Luk

3          BombsDon’t Discriminate? Class, Gender, and Ethnicity in theAir-Raid-Shelter Experiences of the Wartime Chongqing Population /Chang Jui-te

4         Militarization and Jinmen (Quemoy) Society, 1949-92 / MichaelSzonyi

Part 2: Institutional Engagement

5          TheBlagoveshchensk Massacre of 1900: The Sino-Russian War and GlobalImperialism / Victor Zatsepine

6          Victims andVictimizers: Warlord Soldiers and Mutinies in Republican China /Edward A. McCord

7          Turning BadIron into Polished Steel: Whampoa and the Rehabilitation of the ChineseSoldier / Colin Green

8          Orphans inthe Family: Family Reform and Children’s Citizenship during theAnti-Japanese War, 1937-45 / M. Colette Plum

Part 3: Memory and Representation

9          ControllingSoldiers: The Memory Scars of Late Imperial China / AlexanderWoodside

10        Chinese Savages andChinese Saints: Russians and Chinese Remember and Forget the BoxerUprising in 1920s China / Blaine Chiasson

11        Setting Moon and RisingNationalism: Lugou Bridge as Monument and Memory / JamesFlath

12        War and Remembering:Memories of China at War / Diana Lary


Selected Bibliography



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