Intimate Communities: Wartime Healthcare and the Birth of Modern China, 1937-1945
This will be a talk about Barnes' book, Intimate Communities: Wartime Healthcare and the Birth of Modern China, 1937-1945. When China's War of Resistance against Japan began in July 1937, it sparked an immediate health crisis throughout China. In the end, China not only survived the war but emerged from the trauma with a more cohesive population. The book argues that women who worked as military and civilian nurses, doctors, and midwives during this turbulent period built the national community, one relationship at a time. In a country with a majority illiterate, agricultural population that could not relate to urban elites' conceptualization of nationalism, these women used their work of healing to create emotional bonds with soldiers and civilians from across the country. These bonds transcended the divides of social class, region, gender, and language.
Nicole Barnes is an Assistant Professor of History at Duke University. Barnes does research on public health and medicine in twentieth-century China from a gendered perspective, incorporating the changing life stories of men and women into my analysis of how health regulations and medical practices reflect Chinese society's principal values as well as the assumptions and political goals of state actors.