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Exchanges Beyond the Bloc Logic and the Sino-Soviet Split
Europe and China in the Cold War studies Sino-European relations from the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Based on new multi-archival research, the international authorship presents and analyses diplomatic and personal relationships between Europe and China at the political, economic, military, cultural, and technological levels.
In going beyond existing historiography, the book comparatively focuses on the relations of both Eastern and Western Europe with the PRC, and adopts a global history approach that also includes non-state and transnational actors. This will allow the reader to learn that the bloc logic and the Sino-Soviet split were indeed influential, yet not all-determining factors in the relations between Europe and China.
Metals, Transport, Trade and Society
Editors: Ulrich Theobald and Jin Cao
The book Southwest China in Regional and Global Perspectives (c. 1600-1911) is dedicated to important issues in society, trade, and local policy in the southwestern provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan during the late phase of the Qing period. It combines the methods of various disciplines to bring more light into the neglected history of a region that witnessed a faster population growth than any other region in China during that age. The contributions to the volume analyse conflicts and arrangements in immigrant societies, problems of environmental change, the economic significance of copper as the most important “export” product, topographical and legal obstacles in trade and transport, specific problems in inter-regional trade, and the roots of modern transnational enterprise.
Peasants, Migrant Workers and Informal Labor
Editor: Chongqing Wu
This collection includes seven articles from the journal Open Times, a window into contemporary Chinese academic trends. All the articles deal with the topic of “peasants, migrant workers and informal labor,” but each has a different emphasis.

It illustrates various ways that people from a countryside make use of local social resources to seek out ways to making a living. In these models, we can still see traditional social networks, various degrees of ties based on kinship and locality, and the existence of humans as social groups. It also analyzes Dagongmei’s collective actions to fight against the capital and patriarchy, workers’ collective resistance at OEM factories, and the impacts of labor migration on rural poverty and inequality.
Editors: Thomas DuBois and Huaiyin Li
Since its founding, the government of the People's Republic of China has strived to transform rural production, the theme of this volume of History of Contemporary China. Fourteen articles translated from the Chinese journal Contemporary History (Dangdai Zhongguo shi yanjiu) offer both empirical account and theoretical analysis of a broad range of historical events and issues, such as the guiding policy framework of the “three rural issues,” the causes and consequences of the deep plowing movement and the development of public canteens during the Great Leap Forward, child care, enterprises and collectives, and private lending in the post-Mao era, and the changing dynamics of interregional flows of goods and people throughout the second half of the 20th century. These studies shed light on the historical origins of some of the agricultural and rural problems in China today.
The Construction of “Heresy” in Chinese State Discourse
In Mandarins and Heretics, Wu Junqing explores the denunciation and persecution of lay religious groups in late imperial (14th to 20th century) China. These groups varied greatly in their organisation and teaching, yet in official state records they are routinely portrayed as belonging to the same esoteric tradition, stigmatised under generic labels such as “White Lotus” and “evil teaching”, and accused of black magic, sedition and messianic agitation.
Wu Junqing convincingly demonstrates that this “heresy construct” was not a reflection of historical reality but a product of the Chinese historiographical tradition, with its uncritical reliance on official sources. The imperial heresy construct remains influential in modern China, where it contributes to shaping policy towards unlicensed religious groups.
Sichuan Boatmen and Their Work Songs,1880s - 1930s
Singing on the River by Igor Chabrowski, based on Sichuan boatmen’s work songs ( haozi), explores the little known world of mentality and self-representation of Chinese workers from the late 19th century until the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937). Chabrowski demonstrates how river workers constructed and interpreted their world, work, and gender in context of the dissolving social, cultural, and political orders. Boatmen asserted their own values, bemoaned exploitation, and imagined their sexuality largely in order to cope with their low social status. Through studying the Sichuan boatmen we gain an insight into the ways in which twentieth-century nonindustrial Chinese workers imagined their place in the society and appropriated, without challenging them, the traditional values.
Mission Stations and Local Adaption in Early Twentieth-Century Hunan
In Borrowed Place: Mission Stations and Local Adaption in Early Twentieth-Century Hunan Riika-Leena Juntunen creates a microhistorical narrative around the establishment, reception, and development of Lizhou protestant stations during the turbulent years of popular nationalism and early communist activity. The book examines the changing place identity around the stations from political, religious, ritual, cultural, and gendered perspectives, revealing a Chinese semi-religious community with varying motivations and in constant dialogue with its surroundings. The group developed its own normative code and hierarchy, and it offered both economic and religious benefits according to local models. Yet the developing political situation also meant it had to solve the question of anti-foreignism to be able to continue its existence.

Editor: ZHANG Xingxing
The first volume of Historical Studies of Contemporary China offers an examination of some key events, developments, issues, and figures in China since the founding of the People’s Republic. Drawing on rich primary and secondary sources, leading experts in the political, economic, intellectual, military and national defense, and diplomatic history of the PRC present insights and analysis on a wide range of topics, including emergency measures during the Difficult Three Year Period, the relationship between Neo-Confucianism and Marxism, the evolution of China’s international arms control policies, the Chinese government’s public opinion campaign prior to reestablishing diplomatic relations with Japan, the “Kashmir Princess” incident, and others. These accounts will help readers form a more nuanced understanding of China’s efforts to deal with an array of new problems while trying to recover from the ravages of two wars.
In: Singing on the River