Mátyás Mervay G'19

Mátyás  Mervay
Doctoral Student
History (East Asian & Central European)
New York University

Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants 2019
Doctoral Student
History (East Asian & Central European)
New York University
Post-Habsburg Central European Diasporas in China 1915 to 1931

Combining Chinese, Hungarian, German, Dutch, English and Russian sources, my project focuses on Central Europeans from the former territories of the Habsburg Empire who lived in China between 1915 and 1931. Careful examination of the ever-changing relationship between former refugee Central Europeans and the Chinese authorities will provide a better understanding of Chinese sovereignty in a period when central power was constantly contested both by internal and external forces. The application of the Beijing government's initial policy to admit and intern the Austro-Hungarian refugee prisoners of war also sheds light on the rise of a new form of Chinese humanitarianism that sustained cooperation between Beijing and the Northeastern provinces. Thirdly, by focusing on municipal archives (e.g. police records), we will gain a better sense of how these refugees were perceived from the ground up. By examining this hitherto overlooked group, I intend to develop a new lens for exploring Chinese state and society in the Republican era.