New Exhibitions and China's Cultural Revolution: Rethinking Class, Material Culture, and Propaganda
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About the talk:
When China’s Cultural Revolution broke out in 1966, Red Guards created exhibitions from the confiscated materials of the “house search.” Where did this practice come from and what was it used for? This talk explores the origins of “new exhibitions” in Maoist China, from the Socialist Education Movement to the Cultural Revolution. Part of the research for the recent book Curating Revolution: Politics on Display in Mao’s China (Cambridge, 2018), these case studies demonstrate that the exhibitionary culture of the Mao era taught individuals how to participate in its political campaigns.
About the speaker:
Denise Y. Ho is assistant professor of twentieth-century Chinese history at Yale University. She is an historian of modern China, with a particular focus on the social and cultural history of the Mao period (1949-1976). She is the author of Curating Revolution: Politics on Display in Mao’s China (2018). Using a wide variety of primary sources, including Shanghai’s municipal and district archives and oral history, Curating Revolution depicts displays of revolution and history, politics and class, and art and science. Analyzing China’s “socialist museums” and “new exhibitions,” Ho demonstrates how Mao-era exhibitionary culture both reflected and made revolution. Her articles and book chapters appear in The China Quarterly, Frontiers of History in China, History Compass, Modern China, Red Legacies in China: The Afterlives of the Communist Revolution in Contemporary Chinese Culture and Society, The Oxford Handbook of History and Material Culture, and The Afterlives of Chinese Communism. Denise Y. Ho received her B.A. in history from Yale College and an A.M. and Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. She is currently one of twenty-one fellows in the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.