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Meeting in conjunction with the Society for Military History, Louisville, Kentucky

2018 Annual Conference of the Chinese Military History Society

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Session 1: 8:30-9:50

Panel: “Visions of Violence in Chinese History” – Organized by Kenneth M. Swope Kenneth M. Swope (University of Southern Mississippi), “The Rhetoric of Catastrophe in the Ming-Qing Transition”

Kristin Mulready-Stone (U.S. Naval War College), “Vocabularies of Devastation and Chaos in World War II Shanghai”

Lei Duan (University of Michigan), “The Prism of Violence: The Social and Cultural Life of the Gun in Modern China”

Session 2: 10:00-11:20

Vered Shurany (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), “Landscape and Logistics between the Steppe and the Sown”

Dr. Solomon George FitzHerbert (CNRS, Paris), “Tantric Rituals as War Propaganda in 17th-18th Century Tibet, China and Mongolia”

Hyeok Hweon “H.H.” Kang (Harvard University), “Accurizing the Gun: Tactics and Technologies in East Asia”

Lunch Break

Session 3: 1:00-2:00

Edward A. McCord (George Washington University), “Context and Contingency in 19th Century Chinese Militia Organization: Reevaluating the ‘Ladder of Militarization’”

Gregory J. Nedved (Center for Cryptologic History), “Cryptology during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895”

Session 4: 2:10-3:10

Clemens Büttner (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany), “Reconciling National and Territorial Desires in China: The Borders of the Qing Empire, the Decline of Ethnic and the Rise of Militaristic Nationalism in the 1911 Revolution”

Dr. Sherman Xiaogang Lai (Royal Military College of Canada), “Marxism Versus Realism:
The Legacy of Zhou Enlai’s Diplomatic Maneuvers in the Indochina Wars”

Session 5: 3:20-4:50

Roundtable: “Is There a Chinese Way of War? – Organized by Xiaobing Li

Participants:    Stan Adamiak, chair (University of Central Oklahoma)

                        Sherman Lai (Royal Military College of Canada)

                        Xiaobing Li (University of Central Oklahoma)

                        Peter Lorge (Vanderbilt University)              

                        Harold Tanner (University of North Texas)

All sessions will be held in the Willis Room of the Galt House Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky.

The Historical Society for Twentieth Century China will hold a conference on "Security and Conflict in Twentieth Century China" in Arlington, VA on August 3-4, 2018 and is calling for papers. The CFP is copied below. Please note that the deadline for submitting proposals is February 28.

Call for Papers: Security and Conflict in Twentieth Century China Biennial Conference of the Historical Society for Twentieth Century China (HSTCC)

The Historical Society for Twentieth Century China invites participation in the Society’s biennial conference on the theme of Security and Conflict in Twentieth Century China to be held at Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region conference facilities in Arlington, VA (outside of Washington, DC) from August 3-4, 2018. Additional research-related programming may be scheduled on the Monday after the conference (August 6). Registration fees will be waived for members of the Society.

Proposals (individual, panel, and roundtable) are sought to address the following questions and themes related to national security and human security during the twentieth century: --How did China respond to international and regional conflicts and tensions in the twentieth century? What ideas about national security challenges and their solutions emerged? This might include (but is certainly not limited to) examinations of military conflicts, diplomacy, the development of state security apparatuses, border security, information control and security, post-conflict rehabilitation and resilience, and soft power initiatives. --How did ideas of human security remain constant or change in the twentieth century? What kind of measures were developed to guarantee the survival of the Chinese nation and the safety and well-being of the Chinese people?

Papers examining these questions might include (but are not limited to) discussions of international or internal threats and tensions, human welfare, environmental change and disaster, quality of life issues, food security, health concerns, and economic transitions and stability. An individual paper proposal should consist of a paper title (of no more than 20 words), an abstract (no more than 250 words), a short biographical paragraph (limited to 150 words), and contact information (name, affiliation, position, and mailing and email address). A regular panel should have 3-4 presenters and an additional Chair and Commentator (who may also be a presenter). A complete panel proposal should have a panel title (no more than 20 words), a panel abstract (up to 250 words), the information listed above for individual paper proposals from each paper presenter, and contact information and short bio paragraph for the Chair and Commentator (if not paper presenters). Proposals for roundtable discussions on teaching, archival collections, research methods, or an emerging research topic related to any aspect of twentieth century China are particularly welcome. The Society hopes to devote a portion of the 2018 Conference to these less formal discussions about our field and teaching that will be grouped around certain themes or topics. A roundtable should include 3-5 participants and a moderator (who may also be a presenter). A roundtable proposal should include a title (no more than 20 words), an abstract describing the issues and questions for discussion (up to 300 words), a short biographical paragraph for each participant that briefly indicates the nature of the topics that participant is prepared to discuss (no more than 225 words), and contact information (name, affiliation, position, and mailing and email address) for each participant. Those who are proposing research papers may also be included in a roundtable proposal.

We welcome participation from graduate students as well as established scholars. Preference will be given to active members in the Society. All accepted participants in the 2018 Conference should be members of the HSTCC. You may join the HSTCC via the Society website at (If you need to check on the status of your membership, please contact the Secretary/Treasurer Professor Xiaoping Cong, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). The deadline for submitting proposals (for individual papers, panels, or roundtables) is February 28, 2018.

The 2018 conference organizing committee will be comprised of members of the HSTCC Board Timothy Weston, Rebecca Nedostup, and Helen Schneider (HSTCC President). We request the proposals in English, but the working languages for the conference will be Chinese and English. Accepted proposals will be notified by March 22, and papers will be due for precirculation (via a secure website) by July 2, 2018. Roundtable moderators will be expected to post short outlines of topics to be discussed by that date. Please send all the materials named above in a complete file in the body of an email or as an email attachment to Helen Schneider (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Faith Skiles (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

journal of chinese historyThe July 2017 issue of the Journal of Chinese History (volume 1, number 2) was devoted to Chinese Military Institutions and included the following articles by CMHS members:

David A. Graff, "The Reach of the Military: Tang," 243-268.

Peter Lorge, "Military Institutions as a Defining Feature of the Song Dynasty," 269-295.

David Robinson, "Why Military Institutions Matter for Ming History," 297-327.

Yingcong Dai, "Qing Military Institutions and Their Effects on Government, Economy, and Society, 1640-1800," 329-352.

Robinson edited the issue and also contributed an introductory essay, "Why Military Institutions Matter for Chinese History Circa 600-1800" (pages 235-242).


Military Culture in Tibet during the Ganden Phodrang Period (1642-1959): The Interaction between Tibetan and Other Traditions

Conference date and venue: 18-19 June 2018 at Wolfson College, Oxford

Convenors: Dr SG FitzHerbert (CNRS, CRCAO) and Dr Alice Travers (CNRS, CRCAO)

This conference, organised in the framework of the TibArmy project (, aims to fill some of the lacunae in our present understanding of Tibetan military history. It hopes to examine the various military cultures that interacted on Tibetan territory during the Ganden Phodrang period, with a particular emphasis on the possible influences on the Ganden Phodrang army.

In addition to proposals based on Tibetan sources, we are looking for contributions using Mongol, Manchu, Chinese, Nepalese, Indian, British, Japanese and other sources that can shed light on the complexity of military culture in Tibet during this period.

We invite papers containing original research based on primary sources, and relating to at least one of the four following themes:

1) The presence of foreign troops in areas under the jurisdiction of the Ganden Phodrang government; the way they may have interacted with Tibetan military institutions; and the political repercussions this may have had. This would include instances of foreign troops fighting alongside Tibetan troops; foreign troops stationed as temporary or permanent occupying garrisons; and the military bodyguards of foreign representatives stationed in Tibet.
2) The perceived contrasts and differences between Tibetan military culture and that of others, as reflected in primary sources;
3) The possible influence of foreign military cultures on the Ganden Phodrang army in areas of (for example) training, tactics, equipment, organisation, rituals and so on.
4) The possible tensions that foreign military models may have created within Tibetan military institutions.

If you would like to participate, please submit an abstract of around 300 words to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by the 1st of March 2018 for review by the organising committee.
Please note that other specific topics relating to the Tibetan army during the Ganden Phodrang period (such as weaponry and wars fought) will be addressed in forthcoming workshops, panels, and conferences (see our website