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Little Warphan Zhao: The Changing Face of Child Relief in Wartime China, 1937-1945

A mock job talk by Norman D. Apter, UCLA Department of History

Thursday, January 27, 2011
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
6275 Bunche Hall

The War to Resist Japan (1937-1945) served as a key turning point in modern China’s child welfare movement.  Drawing on records from the No. 2 Archives in Nanjing, this talk will examine how the sweeping social and psychological crises of the war years compelled Chinese leaders to greatly expand and standardize care giving and training for dependent children, laying the foundations for the state-run child welfare system of the PRC.  The surge in wartime activism was tethered to a shift in thinking on the relationship between the child and the nation.  The rudderless child refugee emerged as both a symbol of a weakened China and a font of hope for saving the nation and ensuring the survival of the imperiled race.  The talk will explore three areas of training at wartime orphanages -- 1) the creation of allegiances to the extended family of the nation, 2) the implementation of a military-style disciplinary regimen, and 3) the adoption of a half-work, half-study program, all designed to transform the uprooted youth into an active participant in the nation-building process and to ensure that the Chinese race thrives for generations to come. 

Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students from all disciplines and areas of specialization are welcome.

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