Ying Jia Tan

Oct 1, 2021

Recharging China in War and Revolution, 1882-1955

Cornell University Press 2021

In Recharging China in War and Revolution, 1882–1955 (Cornell University Press, 2021), Ying Jia Tan explores the fascinating politics of Chinese power consumption as electrical industries developed during seven decades of revolution and warfare.

Tan traces this history from the textile-factory power shortages of the late Qing, through the struggle over China's electrical industries during its civil war, to the 1937 Japanese invasion that robbed China of 97 percent of its generative capacity. Along the way, he demonstrates that power industries became an integral part of the nation's military-industrial complex, showing how competing regimes asserted economic sovereignty through the nationalization of electricity.

Based on a wide range of published records, engineering reports, and archival collections in China, Taiwan, Japan, and the United States, Recharging China in War and Revolution, 1882–1955 argues that, even in times of peace, the Chinese economy operated as though still at war, constructing power systems that met immediate demands but sacrificed efficiency and longevity.

Thanks to generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through The Sustainable History Monograph Pilot, the ebook editions of this book are available as Open Access volumes from Cornell Open (cornellopen.org), archive.org and other repositories.

Ying Jia Tan
is Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University and works on the history of energy in modern China He is currently working on a second book project on the plastic industry in Chinese East Asia in the twentieth century. 

Ghassan Moazzin is an Assistant Professor at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of History at the University of Hong Kong. He works on the economic and business history of 19th and 20th century China, with a particular focus on the history of foreign banking, international finance and electricity in modern China. His first book, Foreign Banks and Global Finance in Modern China: Banking on the Chinese Frontier, 1870–1919, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.

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Ghassan Moazzin

Ghassan Moazzin is an Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong. He works on the economic and business history of 19th and 20th century China. You can find out more about his work on his website. He is also on twitter @ghassanmoazzin.

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