How China's wartime past is shaping its present – and future

Professor Rana Mitter, History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford

A China Studies Centre Distingsuished Speaker Lecture

9 April

Beijing’s policies continue to dominate the news in the Asia-Pacific region. Will China and Japan clash in the seas of East Asia? Will China be able to implement social welfare policies that will calm dissent and social unrest? Why did it take so long for China to become such a major power? One unexpected but crucial story that helps illuminate these different questions is the wrenching history of China’s experience during World War II, in the epic war against Japan from 1937 to 1945. Over 14 million Chinese died and some 80 million became refugees during those years. This lecture will explore how the battered China of wartime became today’s superpower in the making – and why.

Image for Professor Rana Mitter lecture

Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of St Cross College. His research has focused on the historical development of Chinese nationalism, with a particular interest in the Sino-Japanese War of the 1930s and 1940s, and its effects on shaping contemporary China. He is the author of several books including A Bitter Revolution: China’s Struggle with the Modern World ( 2004), for which he was named Young Academic Author of the Year by the UK Times Higher Education Supplement in 2005, and Modern China: A Very Short Introduction 2008). His new book China’s War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival, will be published in June 2013.

Rana presents and contributes regularly to programmes on television and radio, including BBC World News, the History Channel, and Night Waves on BBC Radio 3 in the UK. His essays and reviews have appeared in publications including the Financial Times, Outlook, The Telegraph (Kolkata), The Times of India, The Guardian, The Economist, and History Today.