The Chinese Communist Revolution of 1949: Diaries and Personal Experiences

Virtual branch

Event Type: HA

Takes Place: 19th June 2024

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: Online

Description: We are pleased to welcome Professor Henrietta Harrison to the HA Virtual Branch this June. This talk looks at 1949 as a year of revolution in China and uses diaries to think about the experience of living through that revolution. It will provide a basic background to the events of the communist revolution, but then it will ask what the revolution meant to people, how they learned about its practices and ideology, and how this changed their lives. The focus will be on the lives and stories of Chinese people who lived through those events. I am especially interested in the decisions that people made about where to go that year, whether they were radical intellectuals returning to China, enthusiastic young people leaving home to join the revolution, defeated soldiers returning home, members of the former Nationalist Party government who fled to Taiwan, rural elites who fled Land Reform, or the many people whose only option was to stay and wait for the arrival of the new communist state. Henrietta Harrison is Professor of Modern Chinese Studies in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oxford and Stanley Ho Tutorial Fellow in Chinese History at Pembroke College. Her books include The Perils of Interpreting: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire (Princeton University Press, 2021) which was shortlisted for the Cundill and Wolfson prizes, The Man Awakened from Dreams: One Man’s Life in a North China Village 1857-1942 (Stanford University Press, 2005) and The Missionary’s Curse and Other Tales from a Chinese Catholic Village (University of California Press, 2013).

How to book: Book via Zoom link below

Price: Free and open to all. A recording of the talk will be made available to HA members.


Organiser: HA

Lecturer: Professor Henrietta Harrison

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