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The Sovereignty of the Dead adn the Disorder of War in 20th Century China and Taiwan

The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University will host Rebecca Nedostup, an Associate Professor of History at Brown University, for a public talk.

December 3, 2015 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Alongside the rise of new state and transnational mechanisms to aid the enormous numbers of displaced and disinherited victims of mass violence and disaster during the twentieth century, other actors continued a most basic kind of social ordering: carrying out the proper burial of the dead. As warfare became more politicized, the nation-state and global regimes alike tightened controls over living and dead displaced persons. Nonetheless, the longstanding experience of lineages, native-place associations, religious groups, and charities was still necessary to ameliorate such problems. At the conclusion of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), private citizens expended enormous efforts to repatriate the known, lost dead to their original hometowns, or to rebuild community through the rewriting of genealogies. During a time when the central government floundered to meet its political promises, and the conclusion of one conflict hastily gave way to the prolonged mobilization of the Chinese Civil War and Cold War, socio-religious organizations and individuals worked to re-establish moral and cosmic order by emplacing the displaced dead.

Phone Number: 
(202) 994-6240


October 15, 2020 - 4:00pm

Please join the USC U.S.-China Institute for a book talk with author David Lampton. His new book examines China’s effort to create an intercountry railway system connecting China and its seven Southeast Asian neighbors.