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Curating Revolution: Politics on Display in Mao's China
Published by Cambridge University Press
Curating Revolution examines how Mao-era exhibitions shaped popular understandings of, and participation in, the political campaigns of China's Communist revolution.
How did China's Communist revolution transform the nation's political culture? In this rich and vivid history of the Mao period (1949-1976), Denise Y. Ho examines the relationship between its exhibitions and its political movements. Case studies from Shanghai show how revolution was curated: museum workers collected cultural and revolutionary relics; neighborhoods, schools, and work units mounted and narrated local displays; and exhibits provided ritual space for ideological lessons and political campaigns. Using archival sources, ephemera, interviews, and other materials, Ho traces the process by which exhibitions were developed, presented, and received. Examples under analysis range from the First Party Congress Site and the Shanghai Museum to the 'class education' and Red Guard exhibits that accompanied the Socialist Education Movement and the Cultural Revolution. Operating in two modes - that of a state in power and that of a state in revolution - Mao era exhibitionary culture remains part of China's revolutionary legacy.
Illustrations; Abbreviations; Acknowledgments; Introduction; 1. Making a revolutionary monument: the first party congress site; 2. Exhibiting new China: 'Fangua lane past and present'; 3. Curating belief: superstition versus science for young pioneers; 4. Cultivating consciousness: the class education exhibition; 5. The cultural revolution's object lessons: the exhibition of red guard achievements; 6. Antiquity in revolution: the Shanghai museum; Conclusion; Bibliography; Chinese character list; Index.
Denise Y. Ho is assistant professor of twentieth-century Chinese history at Yale University, Connecticut. Her research interests focus on the social and cultural history of China during the Mao period (1949-1976), and her work has been supported by a Fulbright scholarship and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council, among other organizations. In addition to her scholarly research, Denise Y. Ho has been a commentator on contemporary China for media outlets including The Atlantic, China File, and The Nation. She is currently a Public Intellectuals fellow at the National Committee on US-China Relations.
Reviewer: Lei Ping