Revolution #149, November 30, 2008


Art and Politics, Lived Experience, Legacies of Liberation

Revolution Books,
Set the Record Straight Project,*
and Institute for Public Knowledge-New York University

FEW EVENTS IN MODERN HISTORY have been as distorted and demonized as China's Cultural Revolution of 1966-76. Yet few events are more deserving of rediscovery.

This unique symposium, REDISCOVERING CHINA'S CULTURAL REVOLUTION, offers an opportunity to rediscover--or discover for the first time--what this "revolution within a revolution" in socialist China was really all about.

There are people who participated in the Cultural Revolution who offer a vivid and exciting counter-narrative. There are youth who went to the countryside to work and learn from the peasants, artists who set out to create revolutionary art, women who struggled against feudal tradition--who look back at this period as some of the best years of their lives. Here is a chance to hear these stories which bring to life important truths about the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

There is work being done in academia uncovering important chapters in the Cultural Revolution that have either been ignored or discounted: its immense international impact and influence; contributions in the arts, sciences and education during the Cultural Revolution; and theoretical questions of economics, philosophy and politics that remain relevant. Here is a chance to hear from people with different perspectives and experiences who are doing work around these questions.

The weekend includes a Friday night book release event; two major panels on Saturday; a symposium-guided tour of the exhibition of artwork from the Cultural Revolution at the Asia Society on Sunday morning; and an afternoon cultural program with a theatrical reading, film clips, and discussion.


Revolution Books, 146 W. 26th St., near 7th Avenue
7:00pm: Book Release event for Dongping Han: The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village. Mr. Han will discuss what it was like growing up in a small village in China during the Cultural Revolution. Co-sponsored by Monthly Review Press and Revolution Books.



Panel Discussions
New York University, Silver Center, Room 703, 100 Washington Square East
12 noon: "Art and Politics During the Cultural Revolution" with Lincoln Cushing, Bai Di, Aly Rose, Li Onesto
3:00 pm:  "The International Impact and Historical Significance of the Cultural Revolution" with Dongping Han, Raymond Lotta, Andrew Ross, Guobin Yang



11:00 am: Asia Society Museum, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street
Symposium—Guided tour of "Art and China's Revolution" exhibition.

3:00 pm: Revolution Books, 146 W. 26th St., near 7th Avenue

The Culture of the Cultural Revolution: Theatrical reading from a Chinese revolutionary work, film clip from Red Detachment of Women, discussion.

Donations appreciated.

For more information and reservations:



Lincoln Cushing—Historian and archivist of social and political graphics, co-author Chinese Posters: Art from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. (participating by video)

Bai Di—Director of Chinese and Asian Studies, Drew University; co-editor of Some of Us: Chinese Women Growing Up During the Mao Era.

Dongping Han—Professor of History, Warren Wilson College; author of The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village; farmer and manager of a collective village factory during the Cultural Revolution.

Raymond Lotta—Set the Record Straight Project; Maoist political economist; writer for Revolution newspaper; author of America in Decline; editor Maoist Economics and the Revolutionary Road to Communism.

Li Onesto—Author of Dispatches from the People's War in Nepal; writer for Revolution newspaper, has written on the Chinese revolution, model operas, and art of the Cultural Revolution.

Aly Rose--Teaches Chinese Contemporary Dance and the Transformative Power of Political Art at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU; lectures and performs at the United Nations, China Institute, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College in New York; choreographed and danced for the Chinese National Song and Dance Operatic Troupe while residing in China for 11 years.

Andrew Ross—Professor of American Studies, Chair of Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University; author of Fast Boat to China: Lessons from Shanghai; articles on China include "Mao Zedong's Impact on Cultural Politics in the West."

Guobin Yang—Associate Professor in Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College-Columbia University; co-editor of Re-Envisioning the Chinese Revolution: The Politics and Poetics of Collective Memories in Reform China.

* A program of International Humanities Center, a nonprofit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code[back]

Download a printable PDF of the announcement for the Symposium



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