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Migration in the Time of Revolution at AHA

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In anticipation of the American Historical Association Annual Meeting this January 3-6 2020 in New York City, we asked Taomo Zhou, author of Migration in the Time of Revolution: China, Indonesia, and the Cold War , three questions about her research.

1. What’s your favorite anecdote from your research for this book? 

Indonesian President Sukarno received traditional Chinese medical treatments for his kidney problems in spring and summer 1965. He seemed to have enjoyed acupuncture and tended to overdose on the herbal pills tailor-made for him by doctors from China. His conditions improved—the acupuncture and herbs seemed to have worked!

2. What do you wish you had known when you started writing your book, that you know now?

An important source I used in the book were documents from the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archives in Beijing. Between 2006 and 2008, the Chinese Foreign Ministry declassified thousands of documents. However, this collection was reclassified in 2013.  In hindsight, I wish I had foreseen the trend toward tighter information control in China and had collected materials more extensively during that brief window of opportunity.

3. How do you wish you could change the field of history?

My research aims to show that the high dramas of geopolitics and the everyday life of ordinary migrants are inextricably intertwined. I hope there will be more dialogues between scholars of international relations and experts in migration studies as well as more interdisciplinary conversations among historians, political scientists, and sociologists. 


Taomo Zhou is Assistant Professor of History at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and the author of Migration in the Time of Revolution: China, Indonesia and the Cold War (Cornell University Press, 2019). Follow her on Twitter @taomo_zhou.


Access the full AHA Program, here; or follow the meeting on social with hashtag #AHA20 or @AHAhistorians

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