In the past decade alone, 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.
Led by volume editor Thomas S. Mullaney, three historians of the Chinese world analyze the phenomenon of grave relocation via essays that move from the local to the global. Starting with an exploration of the phenomenon of "baby towers" in the Lower Yangzi region of late imperial China (Jeffrey Snyder-Reinke), and moving to an overview of the histories of death in the city of Shanghai (Christian Henriot), the final essay takes a broader view to discuss the history of grave relocation and its implications for our understanding of modern China overall (Thomas S. Mullaney).
Built on a bespoke spatial analysis platform, each essay takes on a different aspect of burial practices in China over the past two centuries. Rounding off the historical analyses, platform creator David McClure speaks to new reading methodologies emerging from a format in which text and map move in lockstep to advance the argument.
About the author
Thomas S. Mullaney is Associate Professor of Chinese History at Stanford University.