Part one of a conversation with Jonathan Chatwin
Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at Oxford University and Director of the Oxford China Centre. His most recent book, Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II, 1937-45, was named as a 2013 Book of the Year by the Financial Times and the Economist, and won the 2014 Royal United Services Institute/Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature. In the first half of this two-part interview, Jonathan Chatwin sat down with Mitter in Oxford to discuss his route into Chinese history and the complexities of the Republican era in China.
To start with a fairly generic but important question: how did you become interested in studying China?
There wasn't one single moment that I can remember. But in a sense, I think my interest was the product of something a bit odd, which was a negative.