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Grant number like: FT-248887-16

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Kate Merkel-Hess
Penn State (University Park, PA 16802-1503)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2016 – 7/31/2016

The Regional Warlords in Modern China

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on the role of regional warlords in twentieth-century Chinese history.

The Warlords addresses the collapse of the Chinese Republic, founded in 1912, into rule by regional warlords. It challenges the typical story of the young republic’s disintegration and failure by examining the personal lives of the warlords and the ways that their personal intimacies—of love, marriage, family, friendship, enmity, and patronage—were wrapped up in the politics of the day. In exploring the stories of these men, their families, and their relationships with each other, two narratives of the Republic come into alignment: on the one hand, the crumbling of the early Republic’s optimism; and on the other hand, the social and cultural experimentation and openness that characterized the period. The resulting study sheds light not only on the ways that the warlords contributed to the affective communities that sustained the new nation but also on our understandings of the ways that private life, intimacy, and sentiment became critical building blocks for modern China.