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Reconstructing Memory From Lost Revolutionaries of the Chinese Republic (MemoryROC)
Start date: Feb 1, 2015, End date: Jan 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Though more than 100 years has elapsed since China became a Republic, historical documentation of that period is still in formation. The Republican period lays claim to some of the most turbulent events in China, including the Sino-Japanese War and the transition to communist rule, and most notoriously the Rape of Nanjing, aptly compared to genocides such as the Holocaust and the Dirty War. Reconstructing Memory From Lost Revolutionaries of the Chinese Republic will assemble and analyze primary documents and interviews from Chinese locals and diaspora Chinese about events of the Republican period and their profound influence on the formation of global Chinese identity. I will(1) Curate artifacts, execute filmed interviews and photographs that provide memoir material for the Republican period.(2) Complete a monograph analyzing the how the 1911 revolution and subsequent Republican period has been memorialized and made to reflect certain histories of Chinese individuals and Chinese diaspora.(3) Design and launch a virtual “living” archive, which will include video interviews of key personalities and will help to nucleate a community by offering the possibility for active participation and contribution.This study is groundbreaking in its collection of first-hand memoirs from individuals who lived during this period and their descendants—Chinese locals and Chinese diaspora subjects, including the less well-represented voices of women and children. This project will offer a panoramic and in-depth view of how memory surfaces in public and private ways after decades of state suppression and manipulation of historic memory. This project illuminates through its stories the long-standing social traditions in China; the significance of clannishness and family to identity and power—but also the nostalgia for familial territory and history that govern political and diplomatic decisions even today, a century later.

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