Simon Lam


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Simon Lam

DPhil candidate, Faculty of History


Simon is studying for a DPhil in History on a Swire Scholarship, under the supervision of Professor Rana Mitter. He holds a MA in History of War from King’s College London and a BA in History and Ancient History from the University of Exeter. Prior to arriving at Oxford, he has worked at the Hong Kong and South China Historical Research Programme based in Lingnan University, Hong Kong. He is interested in the history of war in modern China in all its aspects, from operational history to the societal impact of war, with a main research focus on the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. Simon has been active in disseminating historical knowledge and methods in the public sphere through the AskHistorians public history project on Reddit as both a contributor and a moderator over the past few years. He is currently a convenor of the Oxford International History of East Asia Seminar series.

DPhil topic

‘Competing Visions in a Contested Region: The Political Reconstruction of South China, 1944‒1946’

My thesis investigates the vision, planning and implementation of political reconstruction by the Guomindang, the Chinese Communist Party, warlords, intellectuals and various foreign powers following the destructive Second Sino-Japanese War. By focusing on the politically varied and predominantly rural landscape of South China, this thesis aims to bring new insights to the academic discussion on the post-war reconstruction of China, which has predominantly concentrated on socio-political changes brought about by the Guomindang’s return to Japanese-occupied urban areas in the Yangtze Delta and Northeast China. Relying on correspondence drawn from American, British, Chinese and Taiwanese archives, as well as diaries and memoirs from various figures involved in post-war reconstruction, my thesis fundamentally seeks to understand why the Guomindang failed to convince its allies, adversaries and the populace to support a party-led political reconstruction of China, and conversely, why the Chinese Communist Party succeeded.