Friday, June 27, 2008
Zanasi, Globalizing Hanjian: The Suzhou Trials and the Post-WW II Discourse on Collaboration
Globalizing Hanjian: The Suzhou Trials and the Post-World War II Discourse on Collaboration by Margherita Zanasi, Louisiana State University Department of History, has just been published in the American Historical Review. AHR Editor Robert A. Schneider describes the article this way: In “Globalizing Hanjian: The Suzhou Trials and the Post-World War II Discourse on Collaboration,” Margherita Zanasi explores the transmission of the notion of “collaboration” across the globe immediately after the Second World War. In particular, she focuses on the Chinese Nationalists' appropriation of the résistance discourse surrounding the trial of Philippe Pétain (the leader of the French collaborationist government in Vichy). In this trial, Pétain became the central figure in a black-and-white narrative of patriotism versus treason, a narrative that came to represent a monolithic, potentially global phenomenon with no local variations. As such, this narrative served as a source of legitimacy for condemning China's collaborators. By comparing the Pétain and the Suzhou trials, this article illustrates the globalizing effects of the discourse on modern nationhood, which determined how the experiences of World War II and foreign occupation were understood in both France and China. In each country, however, there were differences in the circumstances of collaboration, leading to differences in the nature of postwar punishment, highlighting the limits and complexity of the globalizing effects of the shared experience of World War II.