This series, which features monographs as well as edited volumes of researched papers and lectures, takes a broad view of the Chinese world. Open to different academic disciplines, it will focus on the peoples of China both within and beyond the boundaries of the modern state, on their history, culture and society in past and present times.
The Sino-Japanese War of 1937–1947 has not been sufficiently understood as a narrative in its own right, but rather, as a transitional conflict between Nationalist and Communist rule. The examination of the visual imagery of warfare disseminated through newsprint and books is one way to reinterpret the history of this period. Through a close reading of images printed in a Shanghai newspaper, Zhonghua ribao, during the final days of the battle for the city in 1937, we see how the news was shaped to impose a narrative of order with a positive teleology at a time when China was plunged into chaos with no guarantee of the eventual outcome of the war. The nature of this narrative is explored through examination of images of the body, as well as the positioning of images in the context of the printed page. The conclusion then contrasts these images with a pictorial history of the Sino-Japanese War published during the Civil War, in 1947. It suggests that although this book is able to bring narrative closure to the earlier conflict, its own narrative is imbued with an unease caused by the reality of the new war that had broken out within months of the ending of the war against Japan, and suggests that narrative closure is never truly obtained.
Over the past decades a vast amount of often full-text searchable newspaper and other source material from modern East Asia have been made available for research, much of which is in Western languages. The sheer wealth of detail has brought new challenges to research on the region in terms of methodology and theory.
Studies on Modern East Asian History is the prime publication vehicle for monographs and edited volumes on the period of large-scale Western interaction with the region from the Opium Wars in the mid-nineteenth century right up to the Korean War in the early 1950s.