‘China’s war with Japan, 1937-1945’: New book by Rana Mitter

BICC research network leader Rana Mitter’s new book cover_China_Japan_WarChina’s war with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival is published this week by Allen Lane.  It is the first comprehensive history of the politics, experience, and aftermath of the Sino-Japanese War that became part of World War II, seen from the Chinese side and drawn from a wide range of Chinese materials.  It argues for a revisionist view of the Nationalist contribution to the Allied war effort, and that a new model of authoritarian social welfarism emerged from the conflict.  Mitter’s book will be published under the title Forgotten Ally in North America in September.

Here, Rana Mitter talks to Rob Gifford, China editor of The Economist, about the book:  http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2013/06/legacy-sino-japanese-war

Reviews and comments have already been published in The Economist; The Guardian; The Spectator; Prospect; Financial Times:

“Restor[es] a vital part of the wartime narrative to its rightful place. . . . A remarkable story, told with humanity and intelligence; all historians of the second world war will be in Mitter’s debt. . . . No one could ask for a better guide.” – Richard Overy, Guardian

“The best narrative of that long-ago war, whose effects still linger in China today.” – Jonathan Mirsky, The Spectator  (London)

“Illuminating and meticulously researched. . . . It is the voice of the Chinese [. . .] that gives the distinctive tone to Mitter’s narrative. From the diaries of Chiang Kai-shek to those of national journalists and middle-class Chinese fleeing the conflict, these first-person observations are woven skilfully into his chronicle of the battles and struggles.”  –The Economist

Hello, Chongqing! 重庆您好!


Steps in Taiping Men, Chungking, 1920, Swire collection, Sw19-066.

BICC researcher Dr Tehyun Ma is representing the Centre at the launch today of a new exhibition, ‘Historical Photographs of China: Photographs from British Collections‘, ‘1870-1950:英国收藏的中国影像’. While the core of this exhibition was recently on display in Beijing, the Sichuan outing of the show contains many additional rare shots of the city of Chongqing, mainly from the G.W. Swire and Fu Bingchang collections held within the ‘Historical Photographs of China’ website.

The exhibiton at Chongqing Tiandi is being opened by Benedict Mann, British Deputy Consul-General in Chongqing, and is the resul of a collaboration between the Consul-General Press Team, RCUK China, and the British Inter-university China Centre. BICC is funded by the AHRC and the ‘Historical Photographs of China’ has been supported as an Academy Research Project since 2006 by the British Academy.

The project also runs the related ‘Visualising China‘ portal, and the Visualising China blog, and the latest post there explores Chongqing, the Yangzi, and its place in the British imagination.

Introducing Dr Mike Gow

Mike Gow ProfileI was fortunate enough to receive funding from BICC as part of the first cohort of scholarships awarded in 2006.  I undertook my academic training at Masters and Doctoral level at the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Bristol, supervised by Professor Susan Robertson and Professor Jeffrey Henderson.  BICC has been the determining factor in shaping my career, affording me an opportunity for academic development that I otherwise would not have had.  In addition, I have made some lifelong friends through BICC who are already active as China scholars across a range of disciplines.

My research focuses on the strategic transformation of Chinese higher education, and aims to understand how national modernization projects are materialized within China’s political society and then mediated and institutionalized.  The thesis recognizes processes of negotiation, consent and coercion between China’s political society and civil society, discerning a tightly interwoven relationship between the state and Chinese HE and also proposes that HE is central to the negotiation of hegemony within the contemporary Chinese historic bloc.  However, it also aims to understand the complex social, cultural and institutional environment of Chinese HE through which overarching national projects must be processed.  The research utilizes Burawoy’s Extended Case Method and theoretical framework constructed around Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony and Bourdieu’s concepts of capital, field and habitus.

I have taught a range of subjects over the last few years, including Contemporary Chinese Society, Chinese Political Systems, Contemporary Chinese Cultural Conventions and Chinese Business Context.  As of August 2013 I will be taking a post at NYU Shanghai as Global Postdoctoral Fellow in the inaugural year of this new campus of New York University.  My role will be research-focused, but I am also looking forward to contributing to a Freshman course “Global Perspectives on Society” led by NYU Shanghai Vice Chancellor Professor Jeffrey Lehman.  The course will introduce students to some of the greatest thinkers from both western and Chinese traditions.

Chinese HE continues to be the focus of my research and I blog on Chinese HE, internationalization of Chinese HE and Chinese HE policy at http://www.thedaxue.org