China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: Primarily relying on archives from one county in Jiangxi province, the collection of papers in this panel explores various political dynamics and the process of state building at the grassroots in the 1950s. Whereas scholars of Communist China have produced local case studies, this panel brings together a group of scholars across different disciplines who study archival documents from the same county, and thereby offering a unique and wholistic recount of state-building at the grassroots. Based on archives from the public security bureau and the court in the county, Liu Shigu explores the formation of two local factions either as a legacy of the past from the Kuomindang period or a construction by the Communists in the process of political campaigns. Diving in the languages adopted in criminal case files, Brian DeMare notes how northern cadres as outsiders attempted to make revolutions and state building in the unfamiliar terrain of the south. Focusing on criminal cases of rape, Zhang Man investigates the interplay between law and politics at the time and probes into the process through which “rape” was constructed as criminal offense. Drawing from the reports from the county government and its public security bureau in the 1950s, Wang Juan details the building of the coercive apparatus of the state, namely local police and activist-based community policing, and contends that these enforcers of law and order paved social foundations for group conflicts later on.
Paper Presenter: Shigu Liu – Xiamen University
Paper Presenter: Brian DeMare – Tulane University
Paper Presenter: Man Zhang – University of Freiburg
Paper Presenter: Juan Wang – McGill University