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The First Uprising at Nanjing University During the Chinese Cultural Revolution: Dynamics, Nature and Interpretation

April 23, 2009 - 12:00pm
Okimoto Room Conference Room, Encina Hall East, 3rd Floor
CHINA BROWN BAG SERIES, SPRING 2009 Guoqiang Dong, Humanities and International Study Fellow, Humanities Center, Stanford University and Associate Professor of History, Hopkins Nanjing Center, Nanjing University The "June 2 Incident," once covered by the People's Daily along with a keynote editorial, made Nanjing University famous at the very beginning of the Cultural Revolution. But until now there is no research literature focused on this incident. According to Dong's observation, although this incident had inherent similarity with the first uprising at Beijing University because of common historical context, it still represented a different type. It indeed had very little connection with elite politics at first since it happened in a grass-roots unit far away from the Center. Therefore, instead of exploring the external influence, this talk will focus on internal dissension, and try to explain in greater detail what the Cultural Revolution meant to ordinary people and how they chose to play or were forced to play a role in it. Different from the dominant interpretation based on the "social conflict theory", this research suggests that the relationship between Kuang Yaming, the party leader and president of NJU, and the students, which progressed from accord to division to confrontation, derived from a series of misunderstandings. These misunderstandings reflected the inherent flaws of the political structure, administrative principles, and manner of communication at that time. This viewpoint will shed new light on Cultural Revolution research and help the audience to understand better the general nature and characteristics of politics during Mao's time.
Open to the public.
Event Sponsor: 
Center for East Asian Studies
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