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Division of Graduate Studies. What kinds of twists and turns do graduate students encounter as they pursue a research topic? Montgomery from the History program reveals the quest she undertook while looking at the archives in a particular city in China. Formerly a German colony fromand then a crucial port of Japanese occupied territory fromand again fromQingdao is a city in which the remnants of historical imperialism are clearly visible. Locals are proud of their formerly German brewery and red-tiled foreign architecture. Here in Qingdao I enrolled in an intensive Chinese language program, at the close of my first year of graduate school.

I was on Montgomery hot encounter women search to find bodies in the archive. At that time, my research question was not particularly well-formed, but I knew that I wanted to find documents about pregnant women in the early twentieth century. My language program — the third such immersive language program I had taken — was a perfect opportunity for research but would prove challenging. It was my first time in mainland China although I had spent several post-undergrad years in Taiwan and it was also my first time conducting archival research in Chinese.

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The fate of my fledging project was at the mercy of the judgement of the archivists, and horror stories from the archive were a staple of pre-research travel discussions. I had been prepped keep my official, stated research topic as general as possible; the archivists in Qingdao would be sure to keep me well within the boundaries of my topic.

After a few weeks, feeling ready as ever to move forward with my research, I set off one blistering summer afternoon to the Qingdao Municipal Archives. Like many government buildings, visitors had to register with the guards at the gate of the inconspicuous gray building, rested near the city library and a sprawling mall plaza.

My graduate school classmate and I were greeted enthusiastically by the guards, who were garrulous, asking us a of rapid-fire questions in a mixture of Northern-accented Mandarin and — my newly discovered foe — the local Qingdao dialect. My longest conversations with locals were with an infamously talkative, forthright, and well-read group in China - cab drivers.

I painfully slogged through conversations about their favorite American actors Leohow they had learned some English movies mostly, including Edward Scissorhandsand the presidential aims of Hillary Clinton. As someone who learned most of their Mandarin in Taiwan, I struggled to understand very basic topics in this new world of the North.

Fortunately, that first day at the archive, the guards did not seem to notice my mounting horror as I tried to answer their stream of questions How did I learn Mandarin? Why was I at the archive? What did I think of President Obama? Rather, they sent us on our way to the next guard at the archive door, where we left our belongings in a locker and headed into the reading room with our letter of introduction from our local Montgomery hot encounter women professor.

Like the gate guards, the archivists were also rather surprised at our presence.

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It was not often that American researchers showed up at their small municipal archive, much less researchers from the prestigious University of California. But they only needed to take a scrutinizing look at our passports and letter of introduction before permitting us access to the archive. Following that first day, I would go to language classes in the morning, brave the unimaginable traffic by bus or taxi to the archive, eat a hurried lunch of dumplings or beef noodle soup across the street, and make it to the reading room after lunch. For weeks I stared at the digital catalog, typing in various search terms to find that one magical document which would steer my project in the right direction.

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I looked at everything that even hinted at pregnancy: internal hospital records from maternity wards, newspaper articles on the Soviet-developed Lamaze method of childbirth, receipts from Japanese midwives working in Qingdao during the occupation years. The documents I found were scattered, insufficient, or simply too general to really shape a research project. After about a month of searching, I stumbled across a set of documents from the Qingdao city prison in requesting bail for four female inmates to be temporarily released to give birth outside of the prison.

The document opened up a whole series of questions for me: were pregnant women always released to give birth? Were they released into the care of family members or a hospital? How common was it for newborns to be returned to the prison with their incarcerated mothers? I returned to the Qingdao archives just once more in the summer ofhoping to find more substantial information on female inmates, but was saddened to find very little. Montgomery hot encounter women has since taken a back seat in my dissertation to the larger eastern coastal cities of Shanghai and Tianjin, where the paper trail on female inmates is plentiful.

I also expanded my topic temporally, covering the s to the s, across a quarter century of tumultuous political change and strife. I spent the school year in Shanghai and Tianjin for dissertation research, but did not return to Qingdao. The city has continued to play an essential role in helping me think through the daily functions and roles of imperialism s in my larger dissertation project, however.

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The modern prison - as it was modeled on British, Japanese, and American examples - is an excellent case study for mapping how colonized or occupied cities like Qingdao, Shanghai, and Tianjin ed an international conversation on the reform and remolding of unruly, and sometimes dangerously violent, citizen-subjects to construct a modern nation-state in China.

For these insights on post-colonial spaces in twentieth-century China, my project is indebted to that first summer in Qingdao. Last modified: June 13, UC Santa Cruz. The author stands in front of lilies in Daming Lake, Shandong Province. Staff Resources.

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