East Asia Library to host workshop, exhibition on Chinese political imagery

January 7, 2019
Joshua Capitanio
Modern Chinese Political Posters

On January 24-25, 2019, the East Asia Library will host a symposium on Chinese political imagery entitled History, Images, and Politics in the PRC: An International Workshop, co-sponsored by Stanford Libraries, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and the Confucius Institute.  

The conference will coincide with the opening of a new exhibition, Modern Chinese Political Posters, co-sponsored by Stanford Libraries and the Hoover Institute.  Both the workshop and the exhibition will explore the ways in which images and media have been employed in various political contexts within the People's Republic of China.  These events are free and open to the public.  Those interested in attending the workshop on January 24-25 should RSVP to Xiaowen Wang at the East Asia Library before January 15.


Thursday, January 24

8:30 - 9:00 Breakfast

9:00 – 9:10 Opening remarks, Ban Wang (EALC, Stanford)

9:10 – 10:45 Political Authority and Grassroots Activism 

Chair: Guobin Yang (Sociology & Communication, U Penn) 


Elizabeth J. Perry (Harvard) and Xiaojun Yan (Politics and Public Administration, Univ. of Hong Kong). Suppressing Students in the PRC: Proletarian State-Mobilized Movements in 1968 and 1989.

Andrew Walder (Sociology, Stanford). Pathways to Violent Insurgency: China’s Factional Warfare of 1967-1968.

Emily Honig (History, UC Santa Cruz). Crime and Punishment: Peasants, Sent-down Youth, and a Campaign to Expose Sexual Assault.

10:45 – 11:00 Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:45 Writing and Propaganda 

Chair: Gail Hershatter (History, UC Santa Cruz)


Paul Pickowicz (History, UC San Diego). Mid-Cultural Revolution Propaganda Posters: Unintended Glimpses of the High Socialist Formation.

Haiyan Lee (EALC, Stanford). “Homage to Virtue”: On Hypocrisy in Chinese Politics and Literature.

Guangyao Jin (History, Fudan). The Rise and Fall of the Writing Group of Shanghai Party Committee.

12:45 – 2:00 Lunch (at patio outside East Asia Library)

2:00 – 3:45 Arts, Images, and Censorship 

Chair: Thomas Gold (Sociology, UC Berkeley)


Peidong Sun (History, Fudan and UC Berkeley). “Fragrant Flowers” and “Poisonous Weeds”: Censoring Personal Readings in the Cultural Revolution.

Julia Andrews (Art History, Ohio State). From the Dark to the Light: Iconographic Changes in Cultural Revolution Images.

Shaoqian Zhang (Art History, Oklahoma State). From Stove Gods to Political Gods: Representing Opulence in China’s New Nianhua of the 1950s.

3:45 – 4:00 Coffee Break

4:00 – 5:30 Archive and Resources 

Chair: Jidong Yang (East Asia Library, Stanford)


Letian Zhang (School of Social Development and Public Policy, Fudan). Introduction to the Collection of Social History Archives of Contemporary China at Fudan University (in Chinese).

Peiming Yang (Shanghai Propaganda Art Center). Irresistible Visual Beauty: New-Year Posters in New China.

6:30 Dinner (panelists only): Peking Duck Restaurant, 151 California Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306


Friday, January 25

8:30 - 9:00 Breakfast

9:00 – 10:45 Views from Outside 

Chair: Jean Oi (Political Science, Stanford)


Denise Ho (History, Yale). Imagining Revolution from the Outside In: Visualizing PRC Politics from Hong Kong.

Xueshan Wu (China Central Academy of Fine Arts). Chinese Anti-Imperialist Propaganda in the 1960s: Defying Soviet Revisionism and American Empire.

Ban Wang (EALC, Stanford). Charismatic Politics and the People in the Cultural Revolution: The Mao Cult According to Alain Badiou. 

10:45 – 11:00 Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:45 Arts and Everyday Life in Socialist China 

Chair: Peidong Sun (History, Fudan and UC Berkeley)


Kuiyi Shen (Visual Arts, UC San Diego). Hot Propaganda in the Cold War.

John Israel (History, Univ. of Virginia). Signs of the Time: Streetside Posters in Kunming.

Hanchao Lu (History, GA Inst. of Tech.). Rhetoric Versus Reality: Shanghai’s Alleyway Production Teams, 1958-1978.

12:45 – 1:30 Lunch and Roundtable 

Chairs: Gail Hershatter, Guobin Yang, and Peidong Sun.