Publication Date

April 2018

Advisor(s)

Ying Jia Tan

Major

History (HIST)

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis studies the post-war state building project of the Nationalist regime and focuses on Cixi county in eastern Zhejiang province. It examines how the socioeconomic setting of the rural society under the collaborationist regime shaped the post-war development of political and educational institutions. This thesis broadens our understanding of the legacy of the Japanese occupation in rural China beyond economic destruction and exploitation. In addition, this study analyzes the patterns of peasant behavior and explains why individuals evaded taxes and joined collective resistance against tax escalation or wrongdoing. By bringing the agency back to peasants, I seek alternative ways of conceptualizing the state-society relations during the Republican era. While most scholars view peasants as passive victims of the state expansion, I argue that they were disruptors of the state?s agenda and resourceful individuals who defined and actualized their own goals. Finally, this study examines the interaction among governors, legislators, and the gentry over the educational development and explores the social meaning of citizenship. The tale of rural construction in Cixi illuminated the state?s failure to reconcile conflicting interests and actualize its political vision of state-led civic republicanism.

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