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Exhibiting the PastHistorical Memory and the Politics of Museums in Postsocialist China$
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Kirk A. Denton

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836870

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836870.001.0001

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Martyrdom and Memory

Martyrdom and Memory

Monuments, Memorials, and Museums for Dead Heroes

(p.94) Chapter 4 Martyrdom and Memory
Exhibiting the Past

Kirk A. Denton

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on the continuing role of the postsocialist state in propagating the memory of revolutionary martyrs through museums and memorial sites. It first sketches some historical background, looking at examples of the commemoration of martyrs in premodern and Republican-era history, in order to demonstrate that revolutionary martyrdom in the PRC is not simply a product of socialist culture. It then examines some nationally significant exhibitionary spaces devoted to martyrs, focusing on sites that explicitly use the label “martyrs” (lieshi). Victims of atrocity differ from martyrs, of course, in being ordinary people unwittingly subject to injustice; in that sense, such victims are often nameless, and the point of commemorating them is to draw attention to the unjust perpetration of violence against them.

Keywords:   revolutionary martyrs, martyrdom, postsocialist state, museums, memorial sites

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