China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - “monumenting” a Socialist Time and Space: Mao Zedong’s Birthplace in the Memorial Art and Architecture of the 20th Century China

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Kadamba, Lower Ground Floor

Memorial practices, such as commemoration, nostalgia, and even daydreams, are always a present reconstruction of the established concept of time and space. This paper compares three taken-for-granted, interpretative practices that continuously reworked the conception of time and space of (post)socialist China, using Shaoshan (Mao Zedong’s birthplace) as a case. The first practice involved the building of a national discourse on Chinese revolutionary heritage through the mass reproduction of socialist art and literature in China in the 50s and early 60s. The second was based upon a somewhat religious idea of relic and pilgrimage that heightened Mao’s cult of personality during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The third emerged in the late 80s, emphasized practicality in everyday life, and centered on the strategic management of efficacy. For each of these three practices, I discuss its history, content, and representative mechanism. I particularly concentrate my discussion on how, in these various memorial practices, people use Shaoshan, along with the figure of Mao, to reconstruct for themselves a present and contextual structure of time and space. On a methodological level, I analyze how this perspective of reception differs from, and contributes to, an object-focused study of art and architecture.

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1 - “monumenting” a Socialist Time and Space: Mao Zedong’s Birthplace in the Memorial Art and Architecture of the 20th Century China



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