A widespread conviction in the need to rescue China's children took hold in the early twentieth century. Amid political upheaval and natural disasters, neglected or abandoned children became a humanitarian focal point for Sino-Western cooperation and intervention in family life. Chinese academics and officials sought new scientific measures, educational institutions, and social reforms to improve children's welfare. Successive regimes encouraged teachers to shape children into Qing subjects, Nationalist citizens, or Communist comrades.
In Raising China's Revolutionaries, Margaret Mih Tillman offers a novel perspective on the political and scientific dimensions of experiments with early childhood education from the early Republican period through the first decade of the People's Republic. She traces transnational advocacy for child welfare and education, examining Christian missionaries, philanthropists, and the role of international relief during World War II. Tillman provides in-depth analysis of similarities and differences between Nationalist and Communist policy and cultural notions of childhood. While both Nationalist and Communist regimes drew on preschool institutions to mobilize the workforce and shape children's political subjectivity, the Communist regime rejected the Nationalists' commitment to the modern, bourgeois family. With new insights into the roles of experts, the cultural politics of fundraising, and child welfare as a form of international exchange, Raising China's Revolutionaries is an important work of institutional and transnational history that illuminates the evolution of modern concepts of childhood in China.
Abbreviations in Text
Part I: The Science of Sentiment
1. Child Study in Chinese Kindergartens: Chen Heqin's Approach to "Family Education"
2. Cherishing Children: The National Child Welfare Association in the Nanjing Decade, 1928-1937
3. The Calculus of Child Welfare: The Democratization of Fundraising for Shanghai, 1937-1942
Part II: Child Experts and the Chinese State
4. Wartime Paternalisms: Mobilizing Child Advocacy for the State
5. Contested Service: Building a National Social Welfare Program in the Civil War, 1945-1949
6. The Reeducation of Child Experts: Chen Heqin as a Model of Self-Criticism
7. Women's Mobilization and Childcare for the Masses: Collective Childcare in the 1950s