Redefining Propaganda in Modern China
The Mao Era and its Legacies
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Usage of the political keyword "propaganda" by the Chinese Communist Party has changed and expanded over time. These changes have been masked by strong continuities spanning periods in the history of the People’s Republic of China from the Mao Zedong Era (1949-1976) to the New Era of Xi Jinping (2012-present).
Redefining Propaganda in Modern China builds on the work of earlier scholars to revisit the central issue of how propaganda was understood within the Communist Party system. What did propaganda mean across successive eras? What were its institutions and functions? What were its main techniques and themes? What can we learn about popular consciousness as a result? In answering these questions, the contributors to this volume draw on a range of historical, cultural studies, propaganda studies, and comparative politics approaches. Their work captures the sweep of propaganda – its appearance in everyday life as well as during extraordinary moments of mobilization (and demobilization) – and its systematic continuities and discontinuities from the perspective of policymakers, bureaucratic functionaries, and artists. More localized and granular case studies are balanced against deep readings and cross-cutting interpretive essays which place the history of the People’s Republic of China within broader temporal and comparative frames.
Addressing a vital aspect of Chinese Communist Party authority, this book is meant to provide a timely and comprehensive update on what propaganda has meant ideologically, operationally, aesthetically, and in terms of social experience.
Table of Contents
Notes on contributors
James Farley and Matthew Johnson
Part I: Historical Perspectives
1. Propaganda: A Historical Perspective
2. China’s Directed Public Sphere: Historical Perspectives on Mao’s Propaganda State
Part II: Icons and Imagery
3. Liu Hulan – ‘A Great Life, a Glorious Death’: Martyrdom Across the Media
4. Creating the Subtle Image of the ‘Compatriot’ 同胞 – The People of Taiwan and Hong Kong in Chinese Propaganda Posters of the Mao Era (1949-1976)
Jia Zhen 賈甄
5. Anatomy of an Emulation Campaign: "Study from Comrade Wang Guofu"
Part III: Reception and Affect
6. Developing Patriotic Anti-Americanism: Chinese Propaganda and the Resist America, Aid Korea Campaign, 1949-53
7. One More Time, with Feeling: Revolutionary Repetition and the Cultural Revolution Red Guard Rally Documentaries, 1966-67
Part IV: Transitions
8. Breaking with the Past: Party Propaganda and State Crimes
9. From Text(s) to Image(s): Maoist-Era Texts and their Influences on Six Oil Paintings (1957-79)
Christopher A. Reed
Part V: Legacies
10. Propaganda and Security from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping: Struggling to Defend China’s Socialist System
11. Whose China Dream is it Anyway: Temporalities of ‘Ethnicity’ in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang
Melissa Shani Brown and David O’Brien
12. China as ‘Third Pole’ Culture: Between Theorizing and Thought Work
Prem Poddar and Lisa Lindkvist Zhang
James Farley completed his PhD at the University of Kent in 2016. In 2016 he organized an international conference on ‘China’s Propaganda System: Legacies and Enduring Themes’ and his Monograph, Model Workers in China, 1949-1965 (2019) was publish by Routledge. He is currently Research Support Officer and Assistant Lecturer in the School of History at the University of Kent, United Kingdom.
Matthew D. Johnson is an independent research consultant and analyst. He was previously a historian at the University of Oxford and Grinnell College, and executive dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Taylor's University, Malaysia. His books include (joint editor) Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China's Era of High Socialism (2015). He is also a Director at The PRC History Group (prchistory.org).