China Under Mao: History versus Myth


A seminar jointly organized by Common Core Curriculum Committee, Faculty of Arts, and Faculty of Social Sciences

Professor Andrew G. Walder, Stanford University

Professor John P. Burns, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, HKU

Date: Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm (including Q&A)
Venue: T1, Meng Wah Complex, HKU

As the Mao era fades in popular memory, its history has fallen out of focus and has been infused with myth. Drawing on his recent book, China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed (Harvard 2015), Andrew Walder will take up two related questions. First, what were Mao’s intentions and what were the actual outcomes of his radical initiatives? Second, why did these outcomes occur? Mao emerges from the historical record as a revolutionary whose radicalism was undiminished by the passage of time. His initiatives frequently had consequences that he had not intended and that frustrated his designs. Despite creating China’s first unified modern national state and initiating its modern industrialization drive, Mao unfortunately left China divided, backward, and weak.

About the Speaker:
Andrew Walder is the Denise O’Leary and Kent Thiry Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Senior Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. A political sociologist, Walder specializes on the sources of conflict, stability, and change in contemporary China. He received his Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Michigan in 1981. Before coming to Stanford, he taught at Columbia, Harvard, and also headed the Division of Social Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His recent publications include China Under Mao (Harvard University Press, 2015); and Fractured Rebellion: The Beijing Red Guard Movement (Harvard University Press, 2009). He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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