Had I not had great teachers, colleagues, and friends on the both sides of the Pacific, I could not have finished this book. To be sure, I had the good fortune to work closely with many excellent teachers during my graduate years at Berkeley. My foremost gratitude goes to the late Frederic Wakeman, whose warm encouragement and indefatigable listening inspired me to develop a simple story about rice into this book. His wholehearted guidance and unforgettable sense of humor, which went far beyond the role of dissertation advisor, still remain with me vividly as a source of answers to the many questions that a junior scholar often faces—first of which is how to be a good scholar and, at the same time, a good teacher. I would also like to thank Wen-hsin Yeh for her remarkable support. With her thoughtful help, in particular her consistent emphasis on elaborating one’s own insights, even a student whose research interests were somewhat distant from her own was able to develop both a conceptual framework and empirical depth. In many different ways, Peter Zinoman, Yuri Slezkine, James Vernon, David Johnson, David Keightley, Andrew Barshay, and Liu Xin all helped me shape the basic ideas for this book. I hope their intellectual touches will be detected here and there in this work. However, any mistakes are of course my own.
I owe great intellectual debt to my mentor at Korea University, the late professor Shin Seung-ha. From his survey course of Asian history to honors thesis to master’s thesis, he opened the door for me to the new scholarly world of modern Chinese history. Many senior and junior colleagues (sonbae; hubae) in the Department of Asian History there never lost their willingness to provide me with support and encouragement even after I left Seoul. At the National University of Singapore, my colleagues in the Department of History and the interdisciplinary reading group between History and Chinese Studies have been a model of collegiality. Many graduate students and honors students at the NUS have provided me with fresh and invaluable ideas. I also thank my former colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, who warmly transformed me from a clueless ABD to a faculty member. In Canton (Guangzhou), I benefited enormously from the help of Huang Xunba when I started archival research for this book. At Zhongshan University, Chen Chunsheng, Liu Zhiwei, Zhou Xiang, and Cheng Mibo kindly introduced me to new