Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

Networks, Culture, and Localization: Transnational Studies of Communism in China and South East Asia, 1920s-1950s

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Chinar, First Floor

Based on multi-archival sources and perspectives of intra-Asian connections, this panel examines several aspects of communist activity in Asia from the 1920s to the 1950s. These papers show how Asian communists when they encountered internal rifts and external influences utilized their practical resources to scramble for their own revolutionary grandeur, rather than simply passively following Moscow. Case studies of communist operations in global Shanghai, the Chinese communities in Singapore, Soviet Union–occupied Dalian taking over from Japan, and cultural circles in Indonesia provide a broad transnational perspective. This panel both evaluates how each communist group survived and developed and compares their efforts to localize international communism and reach their political objectives.


Shensi Yi investigates the dramatic change of leadership in the Chinese Youth League of its early period and analyzes the role of personality, emotion and local autonomy played in it. Anna Belogurova explores the Malayan Communist Youth League’s activities in 1930s Singapore, revealing its mobilization efforts in the context of Guomindang’s policy applied there. Yi Wang traces how the Chinese Communist Party, together with the Soviet Union, strove to establish a propaganda system in Dalian right after the end of World War Two in order to eliminate Japanese influence and outmaneuver Guomindang. Stephen Miller scrutinizes the cultural strategy of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) in the early 1950s, investigating how the sometimes vexed (and subsequently controversial) relationship between communism and religion (especially Islam) was navigated in fictional representations in the PKI’s organ, The People’s Daily.

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Alexander Pantsov

Capital University, United States

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Anna Belogurova

Free University Berlin, Germany

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Kerry Brown

King's College London, United Kingdom

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Networks, Culture, and Localization: Transnational Studies of Communism in China and South East Asia, 1920s-1950s



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