Kristin Stapleton, Professor, History Department, University at Buffalo, SUNY.
The effects of World War II on Chinese cities were transformative. In addition to horrendous devastation, the war years were marked by significant cultural exchange, the reconfiguration of social hierarchies, and experiments in governance. All of these phenomena shaped the subsequent establishment of the new Communist regime in Chinese cities beginning in 1949. Drawing on a novel set in a wartime provincial capital, Li Jieren’s Dance of the Heavenly Devils, this talk explores the transformation of Chinese cities as a result of the war, with particular emphasis on the relationship between the built environment and human social relations.