From Regional to National: Northeastern Scholars and the National Discourse on the War of Resistance Against Japan
The War of Resistance against Japan has been subject to a great deal of historical revisionism in order to bolster Chinese nationalism and fulfill certain political objectives in the PRC. Most recently, the timeline of the war was officially changed from 8 years (1937-1945) to 14 years (1931-1945), beginning with the invasion of Manchuria by the Japanese. While the decision to change the war timeline was ultimately made by Beijing, this project will explore local voices from the Northeast that influenced national policymakers. It proposes that even in an authoritarian society such as the PRC, local voices matter, and decision-making processes at a national level are not simply top-down affairs.
Emily Matson has a doctorate in Chinese History from the University of Virginia. Her areas of expertise include Chinese history, Japanese history, and historical memory. For her dissertation, she researched museums commemorating the War of Resistance against Japan in Northeastern China and elsewhere and how their exhibits evolved in accordance with the sociopolitical vicissitudes from Beijing. Dr. Matson is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, as well as Spanish, and has elementary competencies in Russian and Japanese. She looks forward to serving as a Wilson Center China fellow for the next year and contributing to a body of comprehensive research on China.