Speaker: Prof Jeffrey Wasserstrom
China's Boxer Rising and the First Global War: Tales of Martyrs and Myths, Murders and Monuments This illustrated talk will focus on the violent events in China that convulsed the Qing Empire and captivated the attention of newspaper readers around the world in 1900, which are the subject of a book the presenter is completing that will place the Boxer Crisis into a robustly international perspective. One central concern in that book is the very different ways that the events of 1900 were understood at the time and have been thought about since in varying parts of the world. To explore this theme - and also draw attention to how many issues associated with the Boxer Rising and the international war it sparked resonate with contemporary concerns - particular attention will be paid in this talk to monuments built to honour martyrs, and to the ways the meanings of some of these have changed dramatically over time. Of special interest will be two commemorative arches that were built on opposite sides of the Pacific not long after the Boxer Crisis ended. One commemorated an assassinated German diplomat, the other a band of slain American missionaries. One was dismantled in the 1910s, while the other became the focus of campus protests. Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor's Professor of History at UC Irvine, where he serves as Historical Writing Mentor for the Literary Journalism Program and holds a courtesy appointment in Law. He is the author of several books, including Eight Juxtapositions: China through Imperfect Analogies from Mark Twain to Manchukuo, is editor of, among other works, The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China, and is co-author of the just published third edition of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know. He has written for both scholarly venues, such as the China Quarterly and the History Workshop Journal, and general interest ones, such as the TLS, the New York Times, the Financial Times, and the "China Channel" of the Los Angeles Review of Books.