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Reischauer Lecture Series featuring Rana Mitter — New Eras, Old Stories: From May Fourth and Meiji to the Twenty-First Century “New Era” – Defining East Asia in the Age of Novelty, Emotion and Purpose

March 15, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Speaker: Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, St. Cross College, University of Oxford

Discussant: Odd Arne Westad, Elihu Professor of History and Global Affairs, Yale University

Lecture 1 of 3: How New is the New Era?

China’s leaders speak today of a “new era” – but East Asia has seen a range of “new eras” in the modern age, defined by Japan, China, and outsiders who encountered both.  What defines that novelty and how familiar are the elements that form part of it?  The mid-twentieth century saw war, social change and changing global encounters defined as moments when both China and Japan entered a “new” or “special” era in a global context.  What continuities and contrasts are there between the past and the present, and what defines that “newness”?

Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, and a Fellow of St Cross College at the University of Oxford. He is the author of several books, including China’s War with Japan: The Struggle for Survival, 1937-1945 (Penguin, 2013), [US title: Forgotten Ally] which won the 2014 RUSI/Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature, and was named a Book of the Year in the Financial Times and Economist. His latest book is China’s Good War: How World War II is Shaping a New Nationalism (Harvard, 2020). His recent documentary on contemporary Chinese politics “Meanwhile in Beijing” is available on BBC Sounds.  He is co-author, with Sophia Gaston, of the report “Conceptualizing a  UK-China Engagement Strategy” (British Foreign Policy Group, 2020).  He won the 2020 Medlicott Medal for Service to History, awarded by the Historical Association.  He is a Fellow of the British Academy and an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

The Annual Reischauer Lecture Series is co-sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Korea Institute, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, and Harvard University Asia Center.

Listen to parts two and three of this three-part lecture below:


March 15, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

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