井底之蛙

4/22/2006

Review of Timothy Brook’s Collaboration

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 7:33 pm

In the most recent issue of The Journal of Asian Studies there is a review of Timothy Brook‘s new work Collaboration: Japanese Agents and Local Elites in Wartime China written by Susan Glosser. I was very disappointed with this review which, except for a few conciliatory lines in the beginning of the review, was very critical of Brook’s work. While I agree with Glosser on one or two points, I found her to be far too harsh, sometimes irrelevant (she complains that he does not offer a glossary with the Chinese names of all the organizations mentioned, but they can be found under the index entry for every organization) and in several instances clearly wrong in her assessment of the book, which I believe is a truly excellent contribution to the scholarship on Chinese collaboration during the occupation.

Timothy Brook’s work is a careful look at the issues surrounding Chinese wartime collaboration through a close examination of a number of case studies from the Yangtze delta. With the exception of some work I have read in Japanese and some coming out of Taiwan, this is the most detailed source based research I have seen of this kind to date.

Here I just want to contest three points in Glosser’s critique of Brook’s work that I think particularly unfair. She argues that 1) Brook doesn’t discuss the “problem of generalizing from one city to another.” 2) She complains about Brook’s allegedly unproblematized use of the word “pacification” (such as in referring to Japan’s “pacification teams.”) 3) Glosser spends almost a third of the review critiquing Brook’s “desire to avoid moral judgments” and his allegedly “neutral stance” on issue of Chinese collaboration.

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