Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, History, Stanford University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2018
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Stanford University
The People's Paper Archive

I hope to conduct research for my dissertation on the history of modern China's archives as an affiliate of Tsinghua University in Beijing for eight months, the Chinese University of Hong Kong for two months, and the National Taiwan University in Taipei for two months. The dissertation consists of four chapters, organized chronologically around the major episodes of occupation, rebellion, and revolution that scattered modern China's archives across the world. I will also discuss efforts to reconstitute China's archives in private collections and in public institutions across the twentieth century. A related digital humanities project, "Mapping the China's Archives", will make the dissertation accessible as a tool to help to scholars and students understand the history of their source materials. The dissertation will chart out the creation of national repositories as a part of a global story of defining access to information as a measure of responsible governance over the twentieth century. I will also reveal how private interests condition archival holdings by exposing the individuals who decide which documents end up in archives and how they are made public-facing over time working in archives under altering administrative practices, changing political constraints, and evolving legal definitions of human rights. Reframing the history of archival practice in this way promises to pay dividends for our understanding of the historical enterprise writ large. By taking a systematic look at the infrastructures on which all scholars and all narratives of modern China depend, my project will shed light on how sinologists across disciplines have analyzed China with shifting limitations on access to archival information. The dissertation will help scholars understand how we know what little we know about a place that has dominated headlines across the twentieth century.