Session Abstract: Building on recent research into the cultural dimensions of the Sino-Soviet relationship (including recent volumes by Elizabeth McGuire, Yan Li, Nicolai Volland, and Mark Gamsa), our panel explores the transnational circulation of people, texts, practices, and discourses between China and (post-)Soviet Russia. Our timeframe begins with the first phase of intense political and intellectual exchange between China and Soviet Russia in the 1920s, moves through the high period of alliance in the 1950s and subsequent Sino-Soviet split, and ends with contemporary echoes and memorializations of this transnational socialist past. The papers in this panel focus on instances of collaboration, translation and friendship that nuance our understanding of how the international and transnational dimensions of socialism were (and are) experienced as a part of social and cultural life. While acknowledging the role of the institutions of state socialism in shaping networks of communication, circulation and exchange between China and Russia, we aim to explore the other forces and conditions that have shaped these cultural transmissions and affected how they are experienced on the personal and everyday levels. Since we believe that these dynamics of translation and exchange can best be illuminated from a variety of methodological perspectives, our collective approach to the topic is interdisciplinary, combining social history, anthropology, and literary and cultural studies (including translation studies). We hope that our panel will contribute to the continuing development of new perspectives on a relationship of fundamental importance for the histories of China, Russia, and global (post-)socialism.
Paper Presenter: Edward Tyerman – University of California, Berkeley
Paper Presenter: Elizabeth McGuire – California State University, East Bay
Paper Presenter: Yan Li – Oakland University
Paper Presenter: Ed Pulford – University of Manchester