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235. Two-Part Panel: Aesthetics and Political Cultures in the PRC, 1949-1966. Part Two: Enacting the New Culture: Scripts and Practices Leading to the Cultural Revolution

Sat, March 18, 10:45am to 12:45pm, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, 2nd Floor, Kenora

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel


The authors on the first of our double panel show that the CCP created a political culture in the 1950s out of hybrid sources. Based on methodological innovations and the analysis of new sources, this second panel links political culture directly to its effects on political radicalism in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, thus filling a gap in the scholarship on Mao-era political culture.

Tracing the legacy of revolutionary culture to pre-1949 revolutionary practices, Fei Yan argues that the extensive factional violence in Guangxi province during the Cultural Revolution had its origins in the Communist party’s revolutionary experiences and political culture prior to 1949, when CCP cadres developed their careers in two distinct trajectories: one in the underground movement or in local guerrilla forces, and the other in field armies. Enhua Zhang studies how the 1950s critique of the film The Life of Wu Xun provided a model of mass cultural criticism for the Cultural Revolution. Lanjun Xu’s study of children’s “international correspondence” shows how early PRC efforts to cultivate children as young pioneers with international consciousness foreshadowed campaigns in the early 1960s to turn children into successors of both the Chinese revolution and the world revolution. Peidong Sun finds that the organized dissemination of the CCP polemics against Soviet revisionism in 1963-1964, known as the Nine Commentaries, had powerful visceral effects on its audience and became a model of Red Guard polemics in the Cultural Revolution.

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