Dr Patricia Thornton awarded funding for Historys Rearview Mirror project

Dr Patricia Thornton has been awarded a British Academy Mid Career Fellowship for her project Historys Rearview Mirror: Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The award will run from 9 October 2011 to 8 October 2012.

Dr Thornton plans to examine the widely held view that the Cultural Revolution represents a tragic detour on Chinas path to development. Instead, she argues that the official policy to thoroughly repudiate the Cultural Revolution has masked the fact that genuinely radical critiques of the Partys dictatorship circulated widely at the grassroots, winning popular support andinspiring waves of collective political action that aimed to topple Communist Party rule throughout the final decade of Maos rule and beyond. Likewise, the contemporary Partys disavowal of the late Maoist project has tended to obscure the underlying continuities that shape the Partys persistent domination over the realm of culture, as well as the continuing popular resistance that it provokes. Her research willexplore contemporary Chinas deeply conflicted relationship to its late Maoist past by revisiting popular narratives of the Cultural Revolution period, and linking these tothe more recent rise of digital Maoism and anti-liberal counterpublics bent on contestation with the regime.