This translation introduces the life trajectory of Huang Wenshan—a first-generation Chinese anthropologist who received education from Columbia University in the 1920s—and his reflections on the anarchist wing within Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomingtang. Drawing on Huang’s semibiographical writing, published in 1983, about this anarchist network, the translated text centers on the event of the death of Wu Zhihui—another famed anarchist intellectual—which had evoked much discussion and correspondence among intellectuals in the circle. The text particularly shows Huang and his fellow anarchists’ struggle to redeem a sense of cosmopolitanism while their lives are engulfed by the turmoil of international and civil wars.
Against the backdrop of war, the translation further contextualizes Huang’s historical shift from anarchist politics to his focus on developing a unique theory of “culturology” since the outbreak of the Mukden Incident in 1931. This theory considers “culture” as central to constructing a new kind of cosmopolitanism, with which a commensurability can be achieved for all nations. Given the invaluable personal letters exchanged among the anarchists, annotated by Huang, this translated text provides insights into the “culture turn” among many Chinese anarchists in the wake of the Sino-Japanese Wars.