China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is now roughly sixty years in the past. Its sheer scale makes the Cultural Revolution unique. Even as it has been acknowledged in China and abroad, the volume and severity of its purges, censorship, and social engineering campaigns are still largely misapprehended. Significant aspects of this historical event and its aftermath are still largely unknown to the general reading public and scholars alike. This panel gathers writers who have recently tackled the Cultural Revolution in academic and public-facing writing to share their insights into its intricacies, its cultural landscapes, and the challenges of truth-telling that arise in connecting the personal to the political. Our goal is to introduce new work and new thinking on a historical event — a calamity — that was designed to be apprehended slowly, if at all. In the process, we nominate it as one of the most cognitively difficult objects of our time, worth reexamining not only for the sake of justice and the historical record, but also for our collective grasp of contemporary phenomena.
Organized by Nan Da & LARB Humanities Editor Anna Shechtman.
This is a free satellite event of LARB’s Semipublic Intellectual Sessions.
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