Our Own Shadow of the Cultural Revolution: Transgenerational Transmission and the Affective Foundations of Chinese Contemporary Society

Sascha Klotzb├╝cher, University of Vienna, Department of East Asian Studies, CEAS Visiting Scholar

Fiction, film and art discuss the legacy of the Cultural Revolution, but how should the social sciences assess the “shadow” of the Cultural Revolution in contemporary Chinese society? This talk explores how the experience of the Cultural Revolution is passed on through families,  and constitutes part of identity of the so called second generation, the daugthers and sons of former “Red Guards” , ”Rebels” and the “rusticated youth”.
For the second generation of the perpetrators in West-Germany (the 1968 Generation), the Holocaust has acquired the function of an identity-building “generational object” (Bollas). I will identify the problems with transferring this concept to China and make use of autobiographical texts by former Red Guards, three rounds of interviews with six pairs of family members of different generations in Wuhan. Trying to leave behind the asymmetrical relationship between the researcher and the interviewee, this talk explores also new roles of the researcher in conducting research and writing culture and history.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012 | 12:00 pm — 1:00 pm
Okimoto Conference Room, Encina Hall East, 3rd Floor

Center for East Asian Studies