China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Cosmopolitanism inspired Chinese revolutionaries to join the world of anti-colonial and anti-capitalist communist movements, while also constituting the targets against which the Chinese revolution was launched. In his seminal work on modern China, Joseph Levenson discussed how China reconciled its particular existence in time and space with an aspiration for cosmopolitan values. Recent scholarship (Timothy Cheek and Nicolai Volland) reveals the critical purchase of cosmopolitanism in refining the Marxist analysis of class struggles, expanding our understanding of the Chinese revolution beyond mass mobilization, nation-state building and statist nationalism. Extending this approach, we explore the Chinese revolution as a transnational project that fostered multiple versions of cosmopolitanism. Lorraine Wong articulates the alignment of Qu Qiubai (China), Antonio Gramsci (Italy) and VN Vološinov (the Soviet Union) during the 1920s/30, in their Marxist critiques of the domination of language right by cosmopolitan intellectuals and in their exploration of a mass-based cosmopolitanism. Studying how Indian diplomats, journalists and academics derived the values of decolonization, nation-building and social activism from the “New China” in the 1950s, Brian Tsui explores an alternative cosmopolitanism in the post-war Asian world. Melissa A. Brzycki shows us that, during the Korean War (1950-53), children were appropriated by the Chinese state to create a new power structure for the world communist movement. Zachary A. Scarlett moves our discussion forward to the 1960s, when the Sino-Soviet split on internationalism enabled a discursive shift for worldwide revolution. He reveals a version of cosmopolitanism in a network of mass campaigns within and outside China.