The Cultural Revolution in a Rural County of China

There are two different approaches to the study of the Cultural Revolution. The first one is to explore the elite politics in Beijing, the other one is to investigate the mass movement in localities. Ultimately, local mass movements are derived from numerous individuals’ reactions to the events unfolding around them. Based on a story in Feng County in rural Jiangsu, this talk will explain why many local students, workers, peasants and party cadres participated in the rebellion movement, why they soon split into two rival factions, how the factional conflict escalated and was then suppressed under the military dictatorship, and why it revived in the last years of the Mao era.

Dong Guoqiang is a professor of history at Fudan University. For the past two decades he has devoted himself to the study of the Cultural Revolution. His papers (co-authored with Professor Andrew G. Walder at Stanford University) have been published in China Quarterly, the Journal of Asian Studies, the China Journal and Modern China. Their latest collaborative work, A Decade of Upheaval: The Cultural Revolution in Rural China, was published by Princeton University Press in 2021.

This event is co-sponsored by the China Centre and the Centre for Global History.