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Reinventing Modern ChinaImagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing$
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Huaiyin Li

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836085

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836085.001.0001

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Between the Past and the Present

Between the Past and the Present

The Radicalization of Historiography under Mao

(p.132) Chapter 5 Between the Past and the Present
Reinventing Modern China

Huaiyin Li

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter takes a look at the “historiographical revolution” (shixue geming) of the late 1950s and mid-1960s. It began in 1958 at the height of the Great Leap Forward as a result of growing dissatisfaction among CCP leaders with disciplinized history and its weakened ability to link the past with the current needs of the party-state. Proponents of the revolution questioned historians' preoccupation with purely academic research and called for their adaptation of historical studies to present-day political realities. After a temporary retreat in the early 1960s when the Great Leap radicalism caused nationwide famine and subsequent attacks from inside and outside the Party, the historiographical revolution resurged at the eve of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), becoming part of the political struggle between different factions of Party leaders.

Keywords:   historiographical revolution, shixue geming, political realities, academic research, historical studies, Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution

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