Anyuan: Mining China’s Revolutionary Tradition

Elizabeth J. Perry
Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University
Director, Harvard-Yenching Institute Comparative

Anyuan: Mining China’s Revolutionary Tradition
February 13
5:30- 7:00 PM
Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute
111 Thayer Street

How do we explain the unexpected longevity of the Chinese Communist political system?  One answer, Elizabeth Perry suggests, lies in the Chinese Communists’ creative development and deployment of cultural resources – during their revolutionary rise to power and afterwards.  Skillful “cultural positioning” and “cultural patronage,” on the part of Mao Zedong, his comrades and successors, helped construct a polity in which a once alien Communist system came to be accepted as familiarly “Chinese.”  Illustrated with numerous colorful photographs, the talk traces this process through a case study of the Anyuan coal mine, a place where Mao and other early leaders of the Chinese Communist Party mobilized an influential labor movement at the beginning of their revolution, and whose history later became a contested touchstone of “political correctness” in the People’s Republic of China.

A Year of China event, co-sponsored by the East Asian Studies and History Departments, as well as the Cogut Center for the Humanities and the Watson Institute for International Studies.