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E-Journal "Global Europe" on War and Identity

Picture: Marc Eggimann Fotografie www.marceggimann.ch, with the support of Port of Switzerland

"Writing History on their Own: War, Identity, and the Oral History of the ‘Old China Hands’" is the title of a new publication by Ling-ling Lien. The article has been published in the e-journal "Global Europe - Basel Papers on Europe in a Global Perspective".

In her paper, the author uses the oral history project of the "Old China Hands" collected by the California State University at Fullerton to illustrate how oral history serves as the vehicle of identity-making. The term "Old China Hands" first referred to long-term British settlers engaged in the commercial, diplomatic and missionary arenas in nineteenth-century China. During the Second World War, citizens of the Allied nations were interned in the Japanese camps, which then became the common memory for foreign settlers in China. Not until the 1980s did those former civilian internees begin to reconnect with each other and share their stories in public; the oral history project of the "Old China Hands" was one such effort. Focusing on the organization, facilitation and contextualization of the oral history project, this article discusses how the recollection of wartime experience became a process of identity-making.

Ling-ling Lien received her Ph.D. from University of California, Irvine and is Associate Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica. She is the editor of the volume "Wanxiang xiaobao: Jindai Zhongguo chengshi de wenhua shehui yu zhengzhi" [All-Seeing Tabloid Newspapers: Modern Chinese Urban Culture, Society and Politics] (Taipei: IMH, 2013), and the author of the book "Making Consumer Paradise: Department Stores and the Urban Culture in Modern Shanghai" (under review). She is currently working on the project "Enemy Subjects: Allied Civilian Internment Camps in Occupied China during World War Two".

"Global Europe – Basel Papers on Europe in a Global Perspective" is an academic e-journal. It provides insights into the excellent research of graduates, as well as other young and senior scientists who analyze the global implications of Europe and the European Union. The journal is published in four issues per year by the Institute for European Global Studies at the University of Basel. The publication is available on the website www.europa.unibas.ch/global-europe. In addition, readers can subscribe to it by sending an e-mail to europa@unibas.ch.