Nicole Elizabeth Barnes, "Intimate Communities: Wartime Healthcare and the Birth of Modern China, 1937-1945" (U California Press, 2018)


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When China’s War of Resistance against Japan began in July 1937, it sparked an immediate health crisis throughout China. In the end, China not only survived the war but emerged from the trauma with a more cohesive population.

Nicole Elizabeth Barnes’s book, Intimate Communities: Wartime Healthcare and the Birth of Modern China, 1937-1945 (University of California Press, 2018), argues that women who worked as military and civilian nurses, doctors, and midwives during this turbulent period built the national community, one relationship at a time. In a country with a majority illiterate, agricultural population that could not relate to urban elites’ conceptualization of nationalism, these women used their work of healing to create emotional bonds with soldiers and civilians from across the country. These bonds transcended the divides of social class, region, gender, and language.

This book has won two major awards, William H. Welch Award by American Association for the History of Medicine in 2020, and Joan Kelly Memorial Prize by American Historical Association in 2019.

A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program. Visit to learn more.

Nicole Elizabeth Barnes is Assistant Professor of History and Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at Duke University.

Linshan Jiang is Ph.D. candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interests are modern and contemporary literature, film, and popular culture in mainland China, Taiwan and Japan; trauma and memory studies; gender and sexuality studies; queer studies; as well as comparative literature and translation studies.

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