Becoming Significant: The Development of a Rural Community in the Republican China

Yang, Kai-Chien, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Reed, Bradly, Department of History, University of Virginia

This dissertation examines the history of one small town in Sichuan province during the 1st half of the 20th century. It focuses on how the local elites transformed the bandit-raid Jialingjiang xiaosanxia community into a model community of modernization. The story of this community also revealed much detail about the Sichuan province during the 1920s and 1930s and the impact of the anti-Japanese war. The history of Sichuan in the 1st half of the 20th century was often defined by struggles among the militarists. The general impression was that the struggle of militarists resulted in extreme destruction of order in the Sichuan society. While the argument is true, by the late 1920s, there was in fact an internal organism of politics which allowed private efforts of modernization to occur. Such an environment was the result of the cooperation between the local elites and the militarists. The changes occurred in Jialingjiang xiaosanxia demonstrated this kind of cooperation between the elites and the militarists. This cooperation created a more or less stable environment for ambitious patriots such as Lu Zuofu to implement his plan of rural reconstruction and modernization. When the anti-Japanese war broke out in 1937, the history of the area was even more significant because of the nationalist government’s relocation in Chongqing. The chapter of the Jialingjiang xiaosanxia during the war examines how the war brought changes in industry, political institutions, land and space in the local communities.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: