China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: This panel seeks to explore how the Chinese Communist Revolution was fueled as well as restrained by information culture and media technologies. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) developed new mechanisms to channel the flows of information for ideological transformation and state-building. We reveal how the Party tried to monopolize the meanings of concepts including objectivity, rumor, and dissent, mobilize ideological apparatuses of propaganda and censorship, and redefine “correct information” to fight the war of legitimacy. However, dissidents and ordinary people who gradually mastered the secret of media politics often challenged the Party’s rule over information, eventually slowing the momentum of revolution.
Chen delves into the Party’s theorization of objectivity, revealing the epistemological legitimation for propaganda and censorship. Adopting the social history approach, Yu examines how the Party strengthened its power and informational authority by identifying and dispelling disinformation in the early People’s Republic of China (PRC). Chin analyzes the role of media as a public tribunal during the Anti-Rightist Campaign, suggesting that the process of the campaign was still contested. Focusing on the Lin Biao Incident, Li further reveals how ordinary people immersed themselves in a media ecology of self-taught interpretative techniques and noises, joining then later burying the Cultural Revolution. These four papers altogether shed new light on the dialects between information and the Communist revolution, showing how information culture and media might (de)fuel the Chinese Communist Revolution and (de)legitimate the Party’s rule.
Virtual Paper Presenter: Hongyi Yu – Columbia University
Virtual Paper Presenter: Sei Jeong Chin – Ewha Womans University
Virtual Paper Presenter: Jie Li – Harvard University