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September 17, 2009

Lara R. Kusnetzky

Embodying National Liberation: History and Autobiography in the Gejiu Tin Mines since 1949

November 24, 2009
Tuesday 12 noon to 1:00 pm
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
1080 South University

Lara R. Kusnetzky, Ph.D. Candidate, Graduate Center at the City University of New York

On the eve of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, in September 1949, Mao Zedong declared that “the Chinese people have stood up.” The downtrodden masses, their bodies broken by the forces of semi-feudal and semi-colonial oppression, had been liberated and had emerged from their dark factories and dank hovels into the light of the socialist dawn. By equating the bodies of workers and peasants with the body politic, this metaphor also equated national history with biography. In the early decades of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Communist Party conducted a series of political campaigns that required local committees to collect oral histories of workers and peasants that would demonstrate in local terms the universal truths of Marxist historiography. In Gejiu, Yunnan province, national history was narrated through the shading—the pitiful tin miner of the Republican era who under the leadership of the Communist Party had become his own master and could now walk erect through safe, lighted tunnels.

Posted by kanepark at September 17, 2009 05:25 PM