Thomas S. Mullaney

Oct 23, 2020

The Chinese Deathscape

Grave Reform in Modern China

Stanford University Press 2019

In the past decade alone, more than ten million corpses have been exhumed and reburied across the Chinese landscape. The campaign has transformed China's graveyards into sites of acute personal, social, political, and economic contestation. In The Chinese Deathscape. Grave Reform in Modern China, three historians of China, Jeffrey Snyder-Reinke, Christian Henriot, and Thomas S. Mullaney, chart out the history of China's rapidly shifting deathscape. Each essay grapples with a different dimension of grave relocation and burial reform in China over the past three centuries: from the phenomenon of "baby towers" in the Lower Yangzi region of late imperial China, to the histories of death in the city of Shanghai, and finally to the history of grave relocation during the contemporary period, examined by Mullaney, when both its scale and tempo increased dramatically. Rounding off these historical analyses, a colophon by platform developers David McClure and Glen Worthey speaks to new reading methodologies emerging from a format in which text and map move in concert to advance historical argumentation. The Chinese Deathscape is published as part of Stanford University Press’ digital project series which aims to confer the same level of academic credibility on digital projects as academic print books receive. Innovative yet unostentatious, this platform sets new standards for combining interactive, scalable spatial exhibits with academic long-form narrative. Thomas S. Mullaney is Professor of Chinese History at Stanford University and a Guggenheim Fellow. Among many other projects, he runs his own Youtube channel.
Luca Scholz is Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Manchester (UK). His research focuses on European and spatial history. He tweets at @DrLucaScholz.

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