eCommons

 

History Workers and Local History in Communist China

Other Titles

Abstract

This dissertation shows how Chinese historians carved out a niche for their academic and professional lives by writing local history in the People’s Republic of China. In the 1950s, historians experienced changes in the academic language they were expected to use, in the institutionally collectivized workplace, and in the relatively marginalized social status of their field in the all-out drive for industrialization. This dissertation argues that ordinary historians, re-identifying themselves as history workers in the seemingly inescapable Marxist academic regime, initiated research on local history in response to the changes that were overtaking them. History workers reactivated local gazetteer projects, organized field investigations in local villages, mines, factories, and communes, and wrote the local colonial past in congruence with the language of Marxist historiography. Local history provided historians with a legitimate and safe field for their intellectual pursuits using untapped materials. The lack of a political imperative of the writing of local history rather allowed considerable latitude that local historians could use. They explored the space left open by this leeway within the otherwise restrictive structure to make their professional lives meaningful, adapting to the regime’s exclusive academic language and collectivized academia. This dissertation advances scholarship on intellectuals and the persistence of authoritarianism in China by revealing that, as much as authoritarian power shaped intellectual life, local historians’ intellectual pursuits in turn unintentionally contributed to forging the authoritarian structure in China.

Journal / Series

Volume & Issue

Description

Sponsorship

Date Issued

2023-05

Publisher

Keywords

China; Historians; History workers; Intellectuals; Local history

Location

Effective Date

Expiration Date

Sector

Employer

Union

Union Local

NAICS

Number of Workers

Committee Chair

Hinrichs, Tj
Seow, Victor

Committee Co-Chair

Committee Member

Evangelista, Matthew
Fiskesjo, N Magnus G

Degree Discipline

History

Degree Name

Ph. D., History

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

Related Version

Related DOI

Related To

Related Part

Based on Related Item

Has Other Format(s)

Part of Related Item

Related To

Related Publication(s)

Link(s) to Related Publication(s)

References

Link(s) to Reference(s)

Previously Published As

Government Document

ISBN

ISMN

ISSN

Other Identifiers

Rights

Rights URI

Types

dissertation or thesis

Accessibility Feature

Accessibility Hazard

Accessibility Summary

Link(s) to Catalog Record