A Kite Flies Against the Wind: Internationalism, identity, and ideology in the shaping of postwar China, and the legacy for today

Event time: 
Wednesday, February 23, 2022 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Henry R. Luce Hall (LUCE ), 101 (Auditorium) See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

The postwar period saw China debate many issues that still have immense importance for understanding the China of today. Those years contain the period of the Chinese civil war of 1946-50, but also much more than that. It was also the time when China moved into a new phase of internationalization, and became embroiled in some of the biggest global debates about the links between economic and social development. It was also a time when ideological concerns were to the forefront. There were huge debates in China in those years about democracy and constitutionalism, well as what a powerful new political force emerging in the countryside might mean. Meanwhile, new ideas about the interaction of gender and class fuelled debates over identity. In this lecture, I will look in detail at the thinking of Chinese Government ministers, idealistic revolutionaries, and other groups who shaped postwar China – and suggest that those debates have come back to haunt their 21st-century successors.
Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, and a Fellow of St Cross College at the University of Oxford. He is the author of several books, including China’s War with Japan: The Struggle for Survival, 1937-1945 (Penguin, 2013), [US title: Forgotten Ally] which won the 2014 RUSI/Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature, and was named a Book of the Year in the Financial Times and Economist. His latest book is China’s Good War: How World War II is Shaping a New Nationalism (Harvard, 2020). His recent documentary on US-China relations since Nixon, “Archive on Four: The Great Wall” is available on BBC Sounds. He won the 2020 Medlicott Medal for Service to History, awarded by the Historical Association. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
This annual lecture in honor of Dr. Edward H. Hume is made possible by the generosity of his family and many friends. Dr. Hume devoted much of his long and vigorous life to working in China and elsewhere in the cause of health care and medical training. He graduated from Yale College in 1897, and received his medical degree four years later from Johns Hopkins University. He worked in India from 1903 to 1905 before going to China, where he founded the Hsiang-ya Medical School and Hospital under the auspices of Yale-in-China in Changsha.

Rana Mitter - Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, University of Oxford