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  • Cited by 7
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
February 2019
Print publication year:
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Book description

In the 1980s, as China transitioned to the post-Mao era, a state-sponsored oral history project led to the publication of local, regional, and national histories. They took the form of written and transcribed personal testimonies of events that preceded the turmoil of both the Cultural Revolution and, in many cases, the Communist victory in 1949. Known as wenshi ziliao, these publications represent an intense process of historical memory production that has received little scholarly attention. Hitherto unexamined archival materials and oral histories reveal unresolved tensions in post-Cultural Revolution reconciliation and mobilization, informing negotiations between local elites and the state, and between Party and non-Party organizations. Taking the northeast Russia–Manchuria borderlands as a case study, Martin T. Fromm examines the creation of post-Mao identities, political mobilization, and knowledge production in China.


‘In this prodigiously well-researched book, Martin T. Fromm traces the process of constructing an always incomplete ideological consensus in 1980s China, showing how post-Mao political discourse was the continuously negotiated product of a flexible, mediated, and in many ways collaborative effort. This is a fundamental contribution to our understanding of the Deng era.'

Fabio Lanza - University of Arizona

‘This book provides in-depth and sophisticated analyzes of the mobilization, production, publication, and circulation of a series of published memoirs on northeastern China. Its innovative use of sources leads to a narrative that is both informative and inspiring. It will appeal to students and scholars interested in the People's Republic of China, borderland, or oral histories, as well as collective memory, identity and identification, and the legacy of colonization.'

Shao Dan - University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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