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“History and Memory”: Symposium on WWII Came to Great Success2015-08-25

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The academic symposium titled “History and Memory” jointly sponsored by the World History Section of the School of History and the Center for International Relations Studies, Capital Normal Univeristy (CNU) was held at the Ziyu Hotel July 17-18 2015. The event, intended to reflect on and to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ending of WWII, attracted a total of about one hundred participants coming from Beijing University, East China Normal University, Beijing Normal University, Renmin University of China, Nankai University, Nanjing University, Wuhan University, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as well a number of scholars and experts from overseas universities on a cooperative partnership with CNU.

 

Speaking at the opening ceremony – hosted by Prof. Liang Zhanjun, Chairman of School of History (CNU) – were Prof. Zhou Jianshe, Vice President of CNU, Prof. Hao Chunwen, Dean of the School of History (CNU), Prof. Xu Lan, Chief of the World History Section of the School of History (CNU), and the distinguished tenured Professor Qi Shirong, who made a brief keynote speech on the historical place and role of China’s Anti-Japanese War. Professors Xu Tianxin and Wang Lixin, both from Beijing University, Prof. Zheng Yinda from East China Normal University, and representatives from the World History Association of the United States and the Rédacteur en chef de la revue “Historiens et Géographes” of France spoke at the succeeding plenary session, the last two on the status of China’s Anti-Japanese War and how it’s been discribed in French history textbooks respectively.

 

One special feature of the symposium is that the organizers have deliberately chosen to include representatives of the three generations of China’s WWII scholars. Apart from the 89-year-old Professor Qi Shirong were Professors Zhang Chunnian, Xu Tianxin, Zhang Hongyi, Li Julian, Wang Side, Zhang Xiang, and Jiang Guishi, etc, a moving scene of white-haired senior scholars sharing and exchanging with younger and junior scholars at a total of fifteen panels and/or roundtable discussions in three simultaneous sessions. The organizers received more than sixty papers for the one-and-a-half-day presentations, encompassing seven theme/areas, namely “Retrospection and Prospects of WWII Studies”, “Historical Writings of WWII”, “Memory and Commemoration of WWII”, “Anti-Japanese War Studies”, “Wartime Propaganda”, “Diplomacy and the Military”, “WWII and Socioeconomic Studies”, “Soviet Union and WWII”. 

 

At the closing ceremony on July 18, Prof. Zhang Chunnian, former President of the World History Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Prof. Li Shi’an, Chairman of the Society of Modern World History Studies in China, and Prof. Zhang Xiaohua, Vice-president of the China Historical Association of WWII Studies, spoke on how WWII histories have been written, how responsibilities of WWI have been reflected upon, and how WWII studies should be strengthed. By way of a conclusion, Prof. Liang Zhanjun reiterated the necessity of further reflection and research on China as the major battlefield in the fight against the Japanese fascist invasion as well as the major Oriental battlefield in the war against fascists worldwide. He said the World History Section of CNU’s School of History is quite willing to act as facilitator of this effort following the principles of “passing on the good tradition, sharing updated scholarship, and enlightening on relevant issues”, as well as promoter of international exchanges in this regard.