Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - MEMORYROC (Reconstructing Memory From Lost Revolutionaries of the Chinese Republic)

In 1911, revolutionaries in China mounted a revolt and ended over 2000 years of imperial rule. Thereafter a Republican government was created and sustained until 1949. Because of wartime destruction and forced numbers of diaspora, this brief republic left at trove of archives scattered worldwide, and moreover many of these archives remain undocumented. Reconstructing Memory from Lost Revolutionaries of the Chinese Republic will assemble and analyze primary documents and interviews from Chinese locals and overseas Chinese about events of the Republican period and their profound influence on the formation of global Chinese identity. In the grant proposal, I listed my intentions: to curate artifacts, execute filmed interviews and photographs; write a monograph; and design and launch a virtual “living” archive that offers the possibility for active participation and contribution.

The unique and groundbreaking aspect of this project is the acquisition of primary materials obtained through this researcher’s unique access to interviewees and collectors, as well as this researcher’s scholarly expertise for the analysis, valuation, and classification of such materials. Since the launch of this project, several artifacts, interviews and photographs have been obtained for this research project; several key families have been identified as sources for artifacts that will inform the public about the Republican era in China.

In terms of results, the first publication appeared in January 2016: The Collected Annotations of Liao Entao’s Poetry (Guangdong People’s Press, 2016). Professor Puk Wing Kin and I edited a two-volume set of 1000+ pages chronicles through poetry the history of a life of a Qing and Republican diplomat. I am currently writing the second publication, scheduled to appear in December 2017 as an exhibit catalogue for an exhibit in Guangzhou at the The Memorial Museum of Generalissimo Sun Yatsen's Mansion. I will be collaborating with museum director Cheng Cunjie and exhibit manager Zhu Zhilong on this exhibit. While collecting interview material and photographs at a steady pace by filming interviewees, I have obtained the material for a third publication on memories and the republican period.

The architecture of the online archive, the nucleus of the collections, has been completed but there are still many essays to be mounted as well as other materials. Photos and artifacts are available on the site, as well as a submission page where interested parties can share images and information about their Republican connections.

My efforts to create a network has resulted in centralizing research on the revolutionary descendants and refocused the project as not only a recapture of archival activity but a parallel analysis of memory and remembering—the contours it takes as produced and inflected through families in this history, the archive will continue to generate exchange within the community interested in alternative narratives in the domain of Chinese cultural history. Linking all the descendants, identifying subjects in photographs, and creating text about the personal lives of the revolutionaries and their families will create a new archive and historical narrative for a period whose current scattered, hidden archives are yet to be fully recovered.

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Life Sciences
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