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Grant number: FT-61213-13

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Kathryn Jean Edgerton-Tarpley
San Diego State University (San Diego, CA 92182-0001)

The Loss of Heaven: Changing Responses to Disaster in Late Imperial and Modern China

My book project contributes to an ongoing scholarly conversation about shifting conceptualizations of disaster under modernizing states. It employs case studies of key disasters in nineteenth and twentieth-century China to map changes and continuities in Chinese responses to calamity. Perhaps because the image of fellow humans starving or drowning is so disturbing, events such as famines and flood generate intense discussions of the parameters a given culture sets for ethical or unethical choices. Yet cultural conceptions of what actions constitute moral choices during a time of crisis are neither static nor universal. My study explores how the dramatic political and cultural shifts that occurred between China's late-Qing (1800-1912) and Republican (1912-49) periods influenced state and societal responses to disaster. By funding travel to three archival collections in China in 2013, an NEH stipend would enable me to complete the research for the Republican-era sections of my book.

Project fields:
East Asian History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2013 – 8/31/2013