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  • Healing to Kill the True Internal Enemy

    Nicole Elizabeth Barnes

    Chapter from the book: Barnes, N. 2018. Intimate Communities: Wartime Healthcare and the Birth of Modern China, 1937–1945.


    Women who worked as military nurses understood that their labor of healing contributed to the killing of enemy soldiers. They celebrated their ability to encourage soldiers to return to battle after recovery and thereby promoted the state’s exercise of necropolitics—determination of who shall live and who must die—by placing their own soldiers at repeated risk of death. They also kept soldiers alive, simultaneously saving men from their most lethal enemy—disease microbes—and angering rightists in the Nationalist state who wished to refuse medical treatment to Communist soldiers. The difference of opinion between military medicine specialists and Nationalist ideologues delineated two distinct emotional communities in wartime China that contributed to the later division of the country.

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    Barnes, N. 2018. Healing to Kill the True Internal Enemy. In: Barnes, N, Intimate Communities. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.59.d

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    Published on Oct. 23, 2018


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