By narrating one group’s hajj pilgrimage from Japanese-occupied North China through Italian-occupied Eritrea to Mecca, Kelly Hammond illustrates the complicated relationship of Chinese Muslims to Chinese nationalism and refines our understanding of the politics surrounding collaboration. Yiyun Ding’s paper reinterprets the New Life Movement, Chiang Kai-shek's civic education program for investing Chinese citizens with a modern “Chinese” identity borrowing influences from American Methodism and German fascism, to understand its evolving cultural logic as it transformed into a technical project for producing pliant state subjects during wartime. John B. Thompson examines the legal redefinition of treason and political inclusion through Nationalist Party (Guomindang or Kuomintang) adaptations of emergency laws and procedures from Europe, Japan, and the United States, and finds state loyalty in "Free China" was as potent a source of political affiliation as national solidarity. Finally, Wankun Li’s paper examines the construction of a firm charged with exchanging tung oil for American loans and military equipment, bringing financiers and merchants into the fight for survival. Li demonstrates the ways this institution molded the economy of Southwest China into the Communist period after 1949.
The panel relies on multilingual archives, journals, and records from China, Italy, Japan, Germany, and America. Together, these papers move beyond the inherited research on Chinese nationalism and native designs for state-building during the Second Sino-Japanese War to place China into the global war and foreground the emergence of contemporary China and post-war international orders.