Sarah Xia Yu

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania

2019 to 2020
Research Fellow

Healthy and Hygienic Publics in Republican China, 1912--1949

My doctoral dissertation is a social history of hygienic reform and public health in Republican China (1912—1949). I showcase the variety of Republican regimes and their efforts, which were inspired by internationally-circulating ideas of health and localized through collaborations of local leaders and medical professionals. I compare the Kuomintang government under Chiang Kai-Shek (1928—1949), Yan Xishan’s provincial administration in Shanxi (1911—1949), and the Shanghai Municipal Council’s tenure in the Shanghai International Settlement (1863—1941) to explore a range of health- and hygiene-related concerns and reform attempts by governments and constituents. Thus, this dissertation proposes alternative assessment and periodization of effective governance in Republican China, recognizes that persistent and effective public health policy arose around and outside of the dominant central government, and suggests that historians of science, medicine, and technology could expand their definitions of international collaboration and competition to include myriad individuals and communities.