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“The Warlord Period”: Devolved Governments in Northern Republican Era China (1916-1927)

William Heidlage ('12); Mentor: Angelina Chin

Abstract:  With the death of Yuan Shikai in 1916, the Republican government of China faced an 11-year power struggle commonly referred to as the “warlord period.” In the North, Yuan Shikai’s former clique of military commanders independently organized devolved governments. This project focused on three of these warlords, with the poster focusing on Zhang Zuolin in particular. Using letters and telegrams to examine the relationship between these warlords, this project asks if it is possible to define these devolved governments as independent states and use modern comparative political science tools to understand them. Also, does this establish a trend towards lower-level affiliations, influencing the tactics used by the CCP as early as the late 1920s? My research does not yet fully answer these questions; however, the materials collected indicate the warlords did not act so independently and imply changes in political structure were less significant.
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP  

Paris, Blackness, Performance, and all that Jazz

William Mullaney ('12); Mentor: Margaret Waller

Abstract:  I am interested in debates about interwar jazz as a transnational space in which new black Atlantic identities were conceived, contested, and transformed. The works of Harlem renaissance writers who lived in Paris during the post-war jazz craze problematize the concept of France as a welcoming, color-blind nation. Often centering on the contested space of black performance, this transatlantic literature combats simplistic, thoughtless white appropriation of the what Parisians saw as the cathartic and rejuvenating aspects of black performance. I read Claude McKay’s Banjo as the centerpiece to a complex theory of black performance that identifies jazz as the unifying life-force against an encroaching “civilization” of white supremacy. McKay’s work, which inspired a generation of Caribbean poets in Paris to begin the back-to-roots Negritude movement, offers an alternative to skewed white conceptions dating back to slavery and minstrelsy and conceived on both sides of the Atlantic of blackness and performance.
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP  

Research at Pomona