Week 11: Deepening the Revolution and Cultural Revolution

Nov. 2 – Nov. 8

“Stuff” this week

Election day on Tuesday, so if you need to stand in line or you’re working at a polling station, fear not! You can: Your participation in the democratic process is needed and I’ll happily adjust! In addition to the Tuesday optional Zoom (4-4.45pm), I also will be available on Thursday but slightly earlier: 3.30-4.15pm, so you don’t have to feel you missed out on your chance to attend the Tuesday session. I know most of you are motoring along fine with the course without the Tuesday session (still nice to see you!), but I’m happy to field any questions related to the course or just provide a “community hour” if you need to chat.

I am fully aware there is a lot of unease about the election or while we wait for a result and that could take a while, and that this may have an impact on your ability to do coursework. This is my current plan: to keep the course going as is for the time being, but we will adjust on an “as needed” basis. It is hard to make plans, due to the uncertainty of everything. But please talk to me, individually or as a group (video, CloudLounge, email,…), if you have suggestions, or just need to … you know, talk. We’ll figure something out. Remember: everything about this course is figureoutable. Remember there are drop-in tutorials that can function as community hours if you want some camaraderie while history plays out. (I rather study history than be part of it, I always knew but since March I have proof.)

Module 4 (part 3/3): War and Revolution

Please note: as we approach this week the end of the fourth “part” or “module” in Spences (third edition) textbook, we are also approaching another chance to show off what you learned about the period 1949-1971, i.e. from the founding of the PRC, up to partway through the Cultural Revolution. Nixon is not yet in China, that’s for the next module! (Word of warning to all those in an older edition of the textbook!

Zoom question of the week: I have a sense that we won’t need a Zoom question this week, perhaps other than “How could this have happened?” If you want to chat in breakout rooms, drop by either Tuesday or Thursday

Table of Contents

Background

If the Long March (week 8), the heroic resistance against the Japanese (week 9), or the founding of the People’s Republic are “ideologies in reserve” to be rolled out in time of hardship to shore up support for the state and party, then this week’s contents is the part of recent China’s history that the CCP would rather forget.

Why does this matter? It’s bad to “forget” pieces of history that don’t reflect well on your nation, state, or your leadership. “Nuff said,” as the cool kids say.

Readings

Basics set

Textbook alternatives:

  • Moïse Edwin E. Modern China: A History Third ed. Harlow, England: Pearson/Longman, 2008. (ebook Trexler):Chapters 7 and 8
  • Dillon, Michael. China: A Modern History. London: I.B. Tauris, 2010. (ebook Trexler): Chapters 13 and 14

Exploration Pack 1: textbook!

Good old textbook completeness in two chapters: for the Third Edition. Note to readers in earlier editions: It deviates slightly: wherever you end up, this week’s material covers the Great Leap Forward and the first part of the Cultural Revolution, but NOT YET Nixon’s visit to China.

  • Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China. Third ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.
    • Chapters 21 (Deepening the Revolution) and 22 (The Cultural Revolution)
  • “Decision approving comrade Mao Zedong’s proposal to step down, December 10, 1958.” In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. Third ed. Edited by Janet Chen et. al. W. W. Norton & Company, 2014.
    • Mao decided to step down from his official functions as head of state, but he remained chairman of the party. (PDF) #mao #politics #CCP #great-leap
  • “Life and Death of Lei Feng, and Admirable ‘Fool’.” In The Search for Modern China: A Documentary Collection. Third ed. Edited by Janet Chen et. al. W. W. Norton & Company, 2014.
    • Lei Feng was a soldier whose diary shows him as a true devotee to Mao and socialism, and he was held up as a model for all to follow. While there may have been a soldier by that name, the diary appears to have been created for the purpose of creating a model soldier to show how apparently mundane tasks can also be infused with revolutionary zeal.. (PDF) #cultural-revolution #propaganda #biography #PLA

Exploration Pack 2: Great Leap Forward (into famine)

Pick and mix as your interests and available time guide you:

  • Mio, Arturo, Dérives (Firm), and Radio-Télévision belge de la communauté culturelle française. Mao’s Great Famine. Filmakers Library, 2012.
    • Ignore the claim at the start that this is “new” and “for the first time”; historians have long known of the Great Famine. The rest of the documentary is solid, if uncomfortable watching. (access via Trexler Library, 53 mins)
    • The book by professor Zhou is available in the library through Trexler should you want to read more: Zhou, Xun. Forgotten Voices of Mao’s Great Famine, 1958-1962 : An Oral History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.
  • Hershatter, Gail. The Gender of Memory : Rural Women and China’s Collective Past. Asia Pacific Modern, 8. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011.
    • Chapter 9: “Laborer” talks about the impact of the Great Leap Forward and the famine on women in rural areas. The sections in italic are memories of the interviewees. It also includes some insights in the difficulties of how the researchers go about conducting oral history. (ebook Trexler 30pages) #women #great-leap #economy #famine
  • Mo Yan. “Iron Child”, in Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh.
    • A short story by the Nobel Laureate Mo Yan, with a magic realism element. What is the author doing with the story? Is this a big metaphor? Is he using the story to process his own or a collective trauma? Other thoughts on how we should interpret this? (PDF, 15 pgs.) #literature #great-leap #economy #childhood

Exploration Pack 3: Cultural Revolution

Pick and mix as your interests and available time guide you:

  • Hinton, Carma, Barmé Geremie, Richard Gordon, and Jane Balfour. 八九点钟的太阳: Morning Sun. Long Bow Group, 2005.
    • This documentary traces more than just the Cultural Revolution, but it’s a very good insight into how Mao became the central figure of the people’s revolutionary fervor. (You’ll get some Great Leap Forward, too) Available through Canvas, in the Media Gallery. Duration: 1h 57′ #mao #cultural-revolution #propaganda
  • Gao, Yuan. Born Red : A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1987.
    • Pick any section and read for about 30 pages. (Heads up: Read up to 100 pages of your choice for a Response Paper option in the Module 4 Show and Tell project) (ebook Trexler) #cultural-revolution #memoir #red-guard
    • This is a memoir of a Red Guard, a teenager who took part in the mass rallies, battles, and everything else that went on in that first phase of the Cultural Revolution.
  • Liu, Cixin. The Three-Body Problem. Translated by Ken Liu. New York: Tor, 2014.
    • These are two excerpts of the translation of the original Chinese sci-fi hit trilogy “The Three Body Problem”. The opening pages, long before the alien civilization appears on the scene, take you right into a “struggle session” during the Cultural Revolution. Prof. Ye’s daughter witnesses the events, and many years (and pages) later she contacts the four Red Guards who beat and killed her father during that session. (yeah, sorry about the spoilers, but the real story of the novel is not that). Is speculative fiction an unexpected location to come across the Cultural Revolution? (PDF, 19 pp. ) #literature #cultural-revolution #memory #red-guard

Assignments

Peer feedback on post Week 10

3 points, due Mon. Oct. 26 by 11.59pm

Ok, you know the drill, and why reading other’s posts is good for you… Below you find links to four blog posts from your fellow students. If one of the websites is your own, or it is twice the same person’s, refresh the page, and you should get new sites.

  • Post 1:
  • Post 2:
  • Post 3:
  • Post 4:

Leave feedback, questions, thoughts, insights about the contents of the posts of your fellow students using Hypothes.is group HST271. You can ask for clarifications, point out similarities and differences with the material you covered, or with your interpretation. This should encourage you to nose around in the other materials you did not read in the first round.

Use the “Architect’s Model” of giving feedback, and engage with concrete issues. Go beyond “Yeah, I agree,” “I like” or “I think the same”, and instead explain why you have that reaction, or if you disagree, you can try to persuade the original poster of your idea or interpretation.

Remember that Hypothes.is allows for hyperlinks, e.g. to materials that support your argument, or you can include pictures (memes! [yes, there she is again]), videos etc. that help the original poster to learn more.

When you’ve commented on four posts, read this declaration carefully, and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your points.

Declaration
– I commented on four fellow students’ initial posts on the readings from Week 11, using the group HST271.
– I made sure to leave substantial comments that move the discussion forward and help to create better insights, and go beyond a “nice” or “great”.
– I left comments that I would like to receive myself: thoughtful, helpful, kind, but also pointing out errors so they can be fixed.

Blog post

5 points, due by Thursday, Nov. 5. 11.59pm.

Write a blog post exploring themes or ideas based on your reading. You do not need to have all the answers. In fact, learning to ask good analytical or research questions is a skill you can develop during the semester.

  • Length: approx. 400 words. excl. list of materials consulted.
  • Add the list of materials consulted at the end of the post, in Chicago notes and bibliography style.
    • TOP TIP: Just copy the bibliography information from the Reading list here.
    • Don’t include the (PDF) or the #hashtags – those are just there to help you
  • Add the words “Week 11” in the title (please use this exact phrase, or it trips up the filter I created to have your posts show up in the blog stream)
  • Include an image, and make sure to add a caption with the source/credit.
  • Post on your website, and add to the category hst271.

When you’re done, read this declaration carefully and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your points.

Declaration
– I wrote a post of approximately 400 words in response to the readings.
– I included the bibliographic references for the materials I used for my post.
– I indicated which materials I used
– I included an image, and I provided a caption and credit (source) for the image.
– I use the words Week 11 in the title, and added the post to category hst271

Peer feedback on post Week 11

3 points, due Mon. Nov. 9 by 11.59pm

Ok, you know the drill, and why reading other’s posts is good for you… Below you find links to four blog posts from your fellow students. If one of the websites is your own, or it is twice the same person’s, refresh the page, and you should get new sites.

  • Post 1:
  • Post 2:
  • Post 3:
  • Post 4:

Leave feedback, questions, thoughts, insights about the contents of the posts of your fellow students using Hypothes.is group HST271. You can ask for clarifications, point out similarities and differences with the material you covered, or with your interpretation. This should encourage you to nose around in the other materials you did not read in the first round.

Use the “Architect’s Model” of giving feedback, and engage with concrete issues. Go beyond “Yeah, I agree,” “I like” or “I think the same”, and instead explain why you have that reaction, or if you disagree, you can try to persuade the original poster of your idea or interpretation.

Remember that Hypothes.is allows for hyperlinks, e.g. to materials that support your argument, or you can include pictures (memes! [yes, there she is again]), videos etc. that help the original poster to learn more.

When you’ve commented on four posts, read this declaration carefully, and then fill out the Canvas quiz to collect your points.

Declaration
– I commented on four fellow students’ initial posts on the readings from Week 11, using the group HST271.
– I made sure to leave substantial comments that move the discussion forward and help to create better insights, and go beyond a “nice” or “great”.
– I left comments that I would like to receive myself: thoughtful, helpful, kind, but also pointing out errors so they can be fixed.

Get ready for Show and Tell project 4

(More details coming soon!) Project will be due on Nov. 20, covering Module 4: 1949-1971

Feedback on Show and Tell project 3

Not graded, but part of the “Participation in the Learning commons/Professionalism”

Below you’ll find links to two Show and Tell projects from fellow students. Please share your feedback with them, for instance:

  • what do you like about the format?
  • what did or did not quite work?
  • what helped you understand this particular period of Chinese history better?
  • what suggestions do you have for a make-over/redo?
    • you can re-submit your Show and Tell project anytime before the close of the semester for a better grade; think of the kind of advice you’d like to get to help you achieve that!
  • do you think the project can help future students, and should I use it next time I run the course?

Leave your comments on the blog-post either as a page note in the Hypothes.is group HST271 or if you can annotate the text itself, highlight and mark up with Hypothes.is.

If one of the websites is your own, or it is twice the same person’s, refresh the page, and you should get new sites.

  • Project 1
  • Project 1

Extra credit tasks

EC 11-2: Extra commenting:

2 points, due by Sunday Nov. 8, 11.59pm.

Do you like reading your colleagues’ work? Do you like helping them out by identifying ways to make their posts better? Here’s some good news! You can earn extra credit by doing extra commenting! This assignment will be available regularly throughout the semester.

I have collected posts that have not yet got a lot of comments from fellow students, so check them out and provide some feedback! It will also be a nice trip down memory lane as these may take you back all the way to the beginning of the semester.

  • Post 1: 
  • Post 2: 
  • Post 3: 
  • Use Hypothes.is group HST271, and leave feedback as we practiced with the Architects’s model
  • Make sure that the post is actually written for HST271, and not some other class. Check the category, and the content 😀
  • Add the tag extra to the comment (this helps me to keep track of how many people use this option.)

When you’re done, please read this declaration carefully and collect your points with the Canvas Declaration Quiz.

Declaration
I selected three blogs I have not yet commented on before, from our class’ blog stream, and I used the Hypothes.is group HST271 to comment.
I made sure to leave substantial comments that help the writer to improve the post, or to identify their strengths.
I added the tag extra to my Hypothes.is comments.
I left comments that I would like to receive myself: thoughtful, helpful, kind, but also pointing out errors so they can be fixed.

EC 11-2: Rewrite a post

3 points, due by Sunday Nov 8, 11.59pm

Unhappy about a post you wrote? Feeling you can do better now than a few weeks ago? Had a bad week and rushed to get it in but now you’re ready to do something you can be proud of? Now you can rewrite a post and get extra credit for it!

  • Pick a post from a previous week and use the comments you received to rewrite it.
  • Add a brief paragraph at the end explaining how you rewrote the post: which comments did you address, how did you go about the process (new blank page vs. tinkering), and what you learned about the process of rewriting.
  • tag the post with extra, and add the word rewrite to the title

Read the following Declaration carefully, and then head on over to Canvas to collect your points in the Declaration Quiz:

Declaration
I selected a post from a previous week and rewrote it, using feedback and insights I gained since writing it.
I added a brief paragraph at the end explaining what I did to rewrite the post, and what I learned about rewriting
I added the tag extra to the post, and added the word rewrite to the title.
I made sure the post is still in the category hst271.

Where to ask questions

Remember that it is highly likely that you are not the only one with that question. Save me time, and help your fellow students by asking questions where others can see them. If you know the answer to a question, jump in! I can’t be everywhere all the time.

Missing link? Wrong information? Email me! “See something? Say something!”