After five stimulating and enjoyable years, this issue marks the end of my tenure as editor of Twentieth-Century China. Margherita Zanasi, a leading historian of the Chinese economy and how it has been understood across the twentieth century, takes over responsibility for the journal as editor. Joining her are two new associate editors, Margaret Kuo and Yiching Wu. Our book review editor, Kelly Hammond, and managing editor, Gregory Epp, will continue to play their valuable roles under the new editorial leadership.
I am very grateful to all who made my work on Twentieth-Century China so pleasant: above all, the editorial board that appointed me. Its members have devoted substantial time to the journal, reviewing manuscripts, encouraging submissions, and publicizing its content, among other contributions. My predecessor as editor, Jay Carter, has been on call to give advice and answer questions. Associate editors Maggie Greene and Zhao Ma have shared the labor of managing the review and publication processes cheerfully and thoughtfully. Susan Fernsebner and Kelly Hammond made sure we recognized and reviewed important new books in the field. Maura Cunningham served at the beginning of my term as assistant editor and taught me a lot about handling manuscripts; when she left us, eventually to accept a position with the Association for Asian Studies, Gregory Epp took on her work and much more—streamlining our procedures, creating a wonderful style guide, and providing invaluable counsel during our transition to Johns Hopkins University Press. Our collaboration with JHU Press has been deeply satisfying; I am very grateful to Journals Publisher Bill Breichner, Journals Production Manager Carol Hamblen, and the rest of the JHU Press staff for their responsiveness and hard work.
The bulk of this issue is devoted to studies of the May Fourth era, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth incident. In addition, we offer a note by Sophia Lee, in our Archives and Sources series, on a new full-text database of historical materials made available by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Two book reviews complete the issue, one by Maochun Miles Yu on Chang Jui-te's history of Chiang Kai-shek's personal secretariat during the war with Japan and one by Joshua Hill on Jennifer Altehenger's study of the popularization of law in the People's Republic of China.
I am particularly pleased that my final issue as editor concerns the May Fourth era. Ya-pei Kuo has done a fantastic job as guest editor to bring together a diverse group of scholars to share their interpretations of the era. Her introduction provides an overview of the content and highlights some of the new trends in the field. Julia Strauss contributes a stimulating afterword, analyzing the formation of the May Fourth template of "novelty and transcendence" and calling for comparative study of such transformational moments. [End Page 133]
Throughout my scholarly career, I have been attracted to the May Fourth era as a remarkable time in Chinese history. As the essays in this issue show, the meaning of the era and of the "May Fourth movement" itself has always been contested. But, like Gao Juehui in Ba Jin's Family, I appreciate the sense of possibility and openness to the new that swept through Chinese communities, despite all the confusion and tragedies of the early Republic. Of course, the same might be said of China 70 years ago this year, when the new People's Republic was founded. But the shutting down of the dreamers and the activists did not happen quite so quickly and completely in the 1920s as it did in the 1950s. I first spent time in China during the 1980s, when the scope for dreaming was rapidly expanding. In those years, May Fourth history in all its complexity emerged to inspire some of the new dreamers. Its capacity to help us ask important questions about how to organize communities, promote social change, and relate to the past endures. [End Page 134]