Performing Revolution: Violence and Dissent in China's Red Guard Movement

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Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Thursday, April 6, 20171:00PM - 3:00PMFirst Floor Conference Room (JHB100), Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street
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East Asia Seminar Series


From 1966 to 1968, students and workers in urban China were embroiled in deadly factional battles in what many of them believed to be a revolution of a lifetime – the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. In the middle of factional violence, they also expressed radical ideas of political dissent. Based on the recently published book The Red Guard Generation and Political Activism in China (2016), this talk argues that both violence and dissent were the results of the dramatic enactment of a revolutionary culture. The mechanism of this enactment was revolutionary competition. This conclusion has direct implications for understanding the role of political culture in collective violence in today’s world.

Guobin Yang is an Associate Professor of Communication and Sociology at the Annenberg School for Communication and Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include The Red Guard Generation and Political Activism in China (2016), The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online (2009), and Dragon-Carving and the Literary Mind (2 vols. 2003). He is the editor of Media Activism in the Digital Age (with Victor Pickard, forthcoming), China’s Contested Internet (2015), The Internet, Social Media, and a Changing China (with Jacques deLisle and Avery Goldstein, 2016), and Re-Envisioning the Chinese Revolution: The Politics and Poetics of Collective Memories in Reform China (with Ching-Kwan Lee, 2007).


Rachel Ostep


Guobin Yang
Professor, Annenberg School for Communication and Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

Lynette Ong
Acting Director, Dr. David Chu Program in Contemporary Asian Studies; Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

Main Sponsor

Asian Institute


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