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04/13/2022 - 04/13/2022 | Hamburg

Clandestine Transcripts of Revolutionary Globalization: The Late Cultural Revolution Maoism

The WONAGO Lecture Series invites scholars and policymakers to speak on ideas of order prevalent in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. “World Order Narratives of the Global South (WONAGO)” is a joint research project by Universität Hamburg and the GIGA, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

In the growing literature on Global Maoism and its influence during the long and global 1960s, scholars have come to recognize the centrality of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) to Maoism’s spread. However, the focus in both sinological Cultural Revolution scholarship and in studies of Maoism’s influence during the 1960s has been on what could be called the ‘Right to Rebel’ years when Red Guards held massive demonstrations, warred with each other, and tore down the existing structure of Communist Party authority. While the broad influence of this destructive phase of the Cultural Revolution on the imagination of students and revolutionaries around the world is undeniable, the constructive phase of the Cultural Revolution which followed the early, chaotic years has been largely missed.

The efforts of the radical Maoists Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and their collaborators to articulate a new political economy of socialism which broke with past Chinese and Soviet practice were silenced with the October 1976 coup. Zhang, Yao and others were arrested and their theoretical work, the product of a collective endeavor with members of the economics department of Fudan University, was seized from the presses where it had just been published (and has remained unavailable outside very restricted party circles ever since). Despite the official silencing and repudiation of this Maoist political economy in China, the unprecedented public and collective effort that went into articulating this theory during the years before the capitalist restoration that followed Mao’s death led to the globalization of these ideas.

The partial articulation of this theory in public campaigns, propaganda materials, and in conversations and meetings that foreign communists (such as the Shining Path’s Antonio Díaz Martínez and Catalina Adrianzén, among many others) visiting or working in China held with members of the radical Maoist minority of the Chinese Communist Party led to these ideas forming an anchor which grounded post-Mao global Maoism after the repudiation of Maoism in China itself. In sites as diverse as Peru, the Philippines, Nepal, and India, large Maoist communist parties drew on this late Cultural Revolution Maoist political economy as a way of answering existential questions about the communist project (and even to grow and thrive) in the context of the reversal in China and then the global defeat of Soviet-aligned countries. This lecture will discuss the articulation of these ideas in late Cultural Revolution China and the process of their globalization, while also touching on the existing literature and issues related to further research on this topic.

Speaker: Dr. Matthew Rothwell - Independent Scholar

Moderator: Dr. Thiago Prates - Universität Hamburg

Information on participating / attending:
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04/13/2022 18:00 - 04/13/2022 19:30

Event venue:

Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1, ESA W221, Flügelbau Westen
20146 Hamburg

Target group:

Scientists and scholars, all interested persons

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Subject areas:

Economics / business administration, History / archaeology, Politics

Types of events:

Presentation / colloquium / lecture




Verena Schweiger


Fachabteilung Kommunikation

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