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Obscuring the Past: The Writing of the Local Colonial Past in the Socialist Northeast China

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Uris Hall, G08 109 Tower Road

Jihyun Han (Ph.D. Candidate, History, Cornell University) leads this workshop.

This paper examines two layers of local history: Northeast China’s colonial experience in the 1930-the 1940s and local historians’ writing of it in the 1950-60s. In analyzing various forms of historical writings about Japanese occupation of the region published in the Mao-period Northeast, this paper argues that local historians developed a discourse strategy of obscuring the past. In obfuscating the enemy and blurring the colonial life of the people in the region, local historians went for three cognitive effects: negotiating locally unique colonial experience with the Chinese Communist Party’s master narrative of the Chinese Revolution; appropriating the concept of enemy in response to contemporary politics, and deferring judgment against everyday colonial compliance of the local people.

Introduction by Su-Yeon Seo (Ph.D. student, Asian Studies, Cornell University)Discussion by Tianyi Shou (Ph.D. candidate, Comparative Literature, Cornell University)

This lecture is organized by East Asia Program's Graduate Student Steering Committee (EAP-GSSC). The GSSC lecture is open to the public but RSVPs are encouraged. Please contact for RSVPs and questions.


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Event Type



Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, History, Department of Performing and Media Arts, Comparative Literature, East Asia Program, Media Studies, Cornell China Center

University Themes



history, East Asia program, Einaudi

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Contact Name

Su-Yeon Seo


Jihyun Han, PhD candidate, History, Cornell University

Speaker Affiliation

Department of History, Cornell

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EAP is happy to provide access of all types as need with advance notice:

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