Organized Panel Session
Internationalism encompasses public diplomacy, cosmopolitanism, and solidarity with people in far-away lands. This panel is on the discourse and practice of internationalism in the PRC at the state and grassroots level. We untangle the institutions, forces, and futures embedded within dominant narratives of internationalism, as well as dissenting voices. John Knight examines the activities of the Sino-Soviet Friendship Association alongside pen-pal exchanges between women workers from Beijing and Moscow, showing how Sino-Soviet ties in the 1950s influenced individual subjectivities. Xing Zhao uncovers the ways revolutionary paintings and photographs in China Reconstructs facilitated the spread of Maoist movements in Latin America by offering enticing glimpses of a coming socialist world. Kazushi Minami investigates the China People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and the China National Tourist Administration in the 1970s, arguing that while the state tried to present China as a utopia and arrange tourism around ideological themes, economic realities commercialized the industry and conveyed different images to Western visitors. Lingling Yao turns to the 1995 Fourth World Congress on Women held in Beijing, probing why cosmopolitanism was deemed important to Chinese feminists in the 1990s, and why previous internationalist efforts within the PRC were considered lacking. Drawing on the fields of history, literature, and art history, this panel gives equal weight to domestic depictions of the “world” within China and the promotion of “China” abroad. We present Chinese internationalism as a product of evolving political, economic, and cultural forces, rather than as a uniform and hegemonic rhetoric imposed by the CCP.