Mao's Little Red Book: A Global History

DATE: October 21-22, 2011

PLACE: 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor Conference Room

SPONSORS: Center for Chinese Studies and Institute of East Asian Studies



This conference takes up the global history of Quotations from Chairman Mao—perhaps the most visible, ubiquitous, and enduring symbol of twentieth-century radicalism. Conference participants will examine the production and adaptation of the "little red book" in China, as well as its circulation, appropriation, and impact around the globe. The pocket-sized Quotations from Chairman Mao was probably the most printed non-religious book of the twentieth century and by the late 1960s became the must-have accessory for red guards and revolutionaries from Berkeley to Bamako. The little red book's worldwide circulation, in dozens of languages, is a testament to its historical importance, but until now there has been no serious scholarly effort to understand the Quotations as a global historical phenomenon.



All sessions are free and open to the public.

Friday, October 21, 2011
9:00-9:15: Welcome

Alexander Cook, Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley

9:15-11:00: Panel 1
China: "Things Develop Ceaselessly"

A Single Spark: Origins and Spread of the Little Red Book in China
Daniel Leese, Assistant Professor, Institute of Chinese Studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany

Translation and Internationalism
Xu Lanjun, Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore

Quotation Songs: Portable Media and Pop Song Form in the Chinese 1960s
Andrew F. Jones, Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of California, Berkeley

Enacting the Script of Revolution: Mao Quotations in Factional Battles in the Cultural Revolution
Yang Guobin, Associate Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures, Barnard College

Discussant: Thomas S. Mullaney, Assistant Professor of History, Stanford University

11:15-12:45: Panel 2
Second World: "Monsters of All Kinds"

The Book that Bombed: Mao's Little Red Thing in the Soviet Union
Elizabeth McGuire, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Academy Scholars

The (Bi-) Partisans' Little Red Book: Common Cause along Southern Europe's Iron Curtain
Dominique Reill, Assistant Professor of History, University of Miami

An Eternal Friendship? Mao and the Albanians
Elidor Mëhilli, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Princeton University

Discussant: John Connelly, Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley

1:00-2:00: Lunch break
(Lunch is not provided)
2:00-3:30: Panel 3
First World: "Paper Tigers"

By the Book: Mao Tse-Tung's Little Red Book and the 'Genre' of U.S. Revolutions
Bill V. Mullen, Professor of English, Purdue University (participant in absentia)

Principally Contradiction: The Flourishing of French Maoism
Julian Bourg, Associate Professor of History, Boston College

Badge Books and Brand Books: The "Mao Bible" in the two Germanies
Quinn Slobodian, Assistant Professor of History, Wellesley College

Discussant: Tyler Stovall, Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley

Keynote Lecture

Ban Wang, William Haas Professor in Chinese Studies, Stanford University
In the Beginning Was the Word: Political Theology and Popular Democracy in Mao's Little Red Book

Saturday, October 22, 2011
9:30-11:15: Panel 4
Third World: "True Bastion of Iron"

Mao and Mali: Non-Textual Translation in West Africa
Brandon County, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Columbia University

Maoism in Tanzania: Material Connections and Shared Imaginaries
Priya Lal, Assistant Professor of History, Quinnipiac University

Peru's Maoists: Ideological Orthodoxies and a Failed People's War
David Scott Palmer, Professor of International Relations and Political Science, Boston University

Little Red Book in India: Symbolic Maoism
Sreemati Chakrabarti, Professor of East Asian Studies, University of Delhi

Discussant: Darren Zook, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

11:30-12:30 Roundtable: The Global Perspective / Wrap-up Discussion

Alexander Cook, Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley

Discussant: Daniel Sargent, Assistant Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley



Julian Bourg is Associate Professor of History at Boston College where he teaches European intellectual history. He is the author of From Revolution to Ethics: May 1968 and Contemporary French Thought (2007), translator of Claude Lefort, Complications: Communism and the Dilemmas of Democracy (2007), and editor of After the Deluge: New Perspectives on the Intellectual and Cultural History of Postwar France (2004). He is currently writing a book on the history of the relationship between terror and democracy since the eighteenth century.

Sreemati Chakrabarti is Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Delhi and Honorary Director of the Institute of Chinese Studies. In 2000-2003 and 2005-2008 she was Head (Chairperson) of the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Delhi. A political scientist by training, she has earned an MA in East Asian Studies from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University, and completed postdoctoral work at Beijing Normal University. Her publications include China and the Naxalites (New Delhi and London, 1990), Mao, China's Intellectuals and the Cultural Revolution (New Delhi, 1998) and a National Book Trust publication, China (2007). She has edited (with Anita Sharma) Taiwan Today (2007) and is currently the Book Review Editor of the ICS journal, China Report. She has also published research papers and articles in various journals and newspapers. In addition to field work and extensive academic participation throughout China, Professor Chakrabarti has traveled to South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Nepal and Russia on different academic assignments. Currently her main research interest is education in the People's Republic of China. In December 2010 she received the China-India Friendship Award from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

John Connelly has taught the history of East Central Europe at the University of California at Berkeley since 1994. Received a BSFS from Georgetown University (1982), MA (in Russian and East European Studies) from the University of Michigan (1987), and PhD from Harvard University (1995). He has published Captive University: The Sovietization of East German, Czech and Polish Higher Education (Chapel Hill, 2000), which won the 2001 George Beer Award of the American Historical Association, and edited with Michael Gruettner Universities Under Dictatorship (State College, 2005). Other work has appeared in Minerva, East European Politics and Societies, Geschichte und Gesellschaft, The Journal of Modern History, Slavic Review, The Nation, the London Review of Books, and Commonweal. Connelly is currently working on a study of the evolution of Catholic thinking on the Jewish people from 1933 to 1965.

Alexander C. Cook is Assistant Professor of History at UC Berkeley, where he teaches modern Chinese history. He is completing a book on justice in the post-Mao transition, "China's Cultural Revolution on Trial," and has published various chapter-length pieces, most recently "Third World Maoism" in Timothy Cheek's Critical Introduction to Mao.

Brandon County is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Africana Studies Program and History Department at Barnard College. He has spent much of the past decade discussing the past with student activists, local historians, and railroad workers in West Africa. Brandon's dissertation, "From Cheminots to Citizens: Labor, Migration, and Political Imagination along the Dakar-Niger Railroad, 1923-1974," examines how people in what is now Mali and Senegal developed a political and moral community along the train tracks that ranged across the 20th century's changing state borders. He collaborated with Ryan Skinner to publish Faso and Jamana: Provisional Notes on Mande Social Thought in Malian Political Discourse, 1946-1979 in 2008, and is currently working with Bruce Hall and Yacine Daddi Addoun on an edited volume examining race, slavery, and social hierarchy in Muslim West Africa. Most recently, Brandon held a Mellon graduate fellowship at Columbia University's Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. He has also taught at Oberlin College and NYU.

Andrew F. Jones is Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at UC Berkeley where he teaches Chinese literature and popular culture. His research interests include music, cinema, and media technology, modern and contemporary fiction, and the cultural history of the global 1960s. He is the author of Like a Knife: Ideology and Genre in Contemporary Chinese Popular Music (Cornell East Asia Series, 1992) and Yellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age (Duke University Press, 2001), co-editor of a special issue of positions: east asia cultures critique entitled The Afro-Asian Century, and translator of literary fiction by Yu Hua as well as Eileen Chang's Written on Water (Columbia University Press, 2005). His latest book is Developmental Fairy Tales: Evolutionary Thinking and Modern Chinese Culture (Harvard University Press, 2011).

Priya Lal is Assistant Professor of History at Quinnipiac University and specializes in twentieth-century African history. She is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled "Between the Village and the World," which examines the multiple ways in which the Tanzanian ujamaa villagization project (1967-75) was imagined and practiced, as well as the project's longer-term and comparative implications. She holds a Ph.D. in History from New York University and has taught at NYU and Bard College; her research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council and published in The Journal of African History.

Daniel Leese is Assistant Professor of Sinology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich and specializes in modern Chinese history. He has published a monograph called Mao Cult: Rhetoric and Ritual during China's Cultural Revolution (Cambridge University Press 2011) and is currently working on a book manuscript on the post-Cultural Revolution reversal of "unjust verdicts" between 1978 and 1987. He is the editor of Brill's Encyclopedia of China (2009).

Elizabeth McGuire is a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Modern European and Modern Chinese history. She is completing her first book, "The Sino-Soviet Romance: How Chinese Communists Fell in Love with the Russian Revolution," which examines the history of Sino-Soviet relations through the biographies of high-profile Chinese revolutionaries who spent time in the Soviet Union. Her second book is "Communist Neverland: A Russian International Children's Home and the Family it Created, 1933-2013."

Elidor Mëhilli is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. in modern European and Eurasian history at Princeton University in 2011. Based on extensive research in Albanian, British, German, Italian, Russian, and US archives, Mëhilli's work explores socialist transnational exchange in ideas, practices, and technologies throughout the so-called Second World. Through the angle of postwar Albania, a recipient of Yugoslav, Soviet, Eastern bloc, and Chinese developmental aid, the project argues that Soviet-inspired circulations amounted to a kind of socialist globalization. From Mussolini to Mao, tiny Albania serves as a lens into transfers, developments, and flows that shaped more than one sixth of the world. One chapter of his dissertation won the 2011 Webb-Smith prize at the 46th Annual Walter Prescott Webb Memorial Lecture Series on "Transnational Perspectives on the Soviet Bloc, 1944-1991" and will be forthcoming in a volume edited by Patryk Babiracki and Kenyon Zimmer. Other work is forthcoming in the Journal of Cold War Studies and in Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. Previously, Mëhilli has held a Mellon fellowship in contemporary history at The George Washington University and a Whiting fellowship at Princeton.Postdoctoral Fellow, The Harriman Institute at Columbia University

Thomas S. Mullaney is Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese History at Stanford University. His first book, Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China (University of California Press 2011) examines the process by which Chinese social scientists and Communist state authorities decided which of the country's minority groups to recognize, and how this transformed the modern Chinese nation-state. He is also principal editor of "Critical Han Studies: The History, Representation and Identity of China's Majority" (University of California Press 2012), an edited volume that brings together path breaking new research on China's ethnic majority. He is currently working on a global history of China's nineteenth- and twentieth-century development of a character-based information infrastructure, examining in particular the development of Chinese telegraph codes, typewriting, character retrieval systems, shorthand, and Braille.

Bill V. Mullen is Professor of English and American Studies at Purdue University. He is the author of Afro-Orientalism and Popular Fronts: Chicago and African American Cultural Politics, 1935-1946. He is co-editor with Fred Ho of Afro Asia: Revolutionary Political and Cultural Connections Between African Americans and Asian Americans. He has been a Fulbright Scholar at Wuhan University and is former Director of American Studies at Purdue. He is currently at work on a political biography of W.E.B. Du Bois entitled "Unamerican: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Century of World Revolution."

David Scott Palmer is Professor of International Relations and Political Science, and Founding Director of Latin American Studies at Boston University. He holds a BA from Dartmouth College, an MA from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. His research and publications cover a variety of issues relating to Latin American politics, US-LA relations, and regional conflict, but includes a major focus on Peru and Shining Path. As a Peace Corps Volunteer sent to Ayacucho in the early 1960s to teach at the recently refounded National University of San Cristobal de Huamanga (UNSCH), he witnessed first-hand the progressive political radicalization of a unique higher education initiative designed to stimulate development of the most impoverished region of the Peruvian sierra. Fascinated by how his former colleague Abimael Guzman Reynoso could over more than two decades apply Maoist principles to build a rural revolutionary movement that came close to victory, he has dedicated much of his research to an exploration of this phenomenon. His publications on the subject include Shining Path of Peru (volume editor), "Terror in the Name of Mao" (in Art & Richardson, 2007), and "Overcoming Terrorism in Peru" (in Spencer & Renner, 2011).

Dominique Kirchner Reill is an Assistant Professor in Modern European History at the University of Miami, specializing in southern Europe. Her first monograph, titled "Nationalists Who Feared the Nation: Adriatic Multi-Nationalism in Habsburg Dalmatia, Trieste, and Venice," is forthcoming with Stanford University Press in 2011. Professor Reill has been awarded numerous research grants for her work in the Italian and Balkan peninsulas. Currently she is beginning a new monograph investigating the Fiume/Rijeka crisis in 1919-1920, commonly believed to be one of the formative experiences in the development of Italian fascism.

Daniel Sargent is an assistant professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley. He graduated from Christ's College, Cambridge in 2001 and completed his PhD at Harvard University in 2008. He has held fellowship positions at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard and International Security Studies at Yale University. His doctoral thesis examines the relationship between American power and the globalization of the international system in the 1970s. His research interests, which are focused on the post-1945 era, include U.S. foreign relations, international relations, and international political economy. He is the editor, with Niall Ferguson, Charles Maier, and Erez Manela of Shock of the Global: The International History of the 1970s by Harvard University Press in 2010. In addition to teaching at Berkeley, Daniel is working on a book manuscript, based on his PhD dissertation and provisionally titled "A Superpower Transformed." It will be published by Oxford University Press when it is finished.

Quinn Slobodian is Assistant Professor of History at Wellesley College, where he teaches modern European history, and a visiting scholar at the Minda de Ginzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University for Fall 2011. His first book, on Third World politics and the West German New Left, will appear with Duke University Press in 2012. His work revolves around questions of transnational politics, race, and representation in modern Germany. He has published on West German labor internationalism in the Cold War, the activism of foreign students in 1960s West Germany, cultural diplomacy at the 1960s World Youth Festivals, and the politics of gore. He is currently working on two new book projects, one on Mao's China and the two Germanies, and the other, a transatlantic history of the idea of the world economy.

Tyler Stovall is Professor of History and Dean of the Undergraduate Division, College of Letters and Science, UC Berkeley. A respected history professor who has made modern France, race, labor, and class issues his specialties, he published Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light, (1996), and The Rise of the Paris Red Belt, (1990). Professor Stovall has also served as associate dean in the college's Division of Social Sciences at Berkeley, and as chair of the history department and provost of Stevenson College at UC Santa Cruz, where he taught for 13 years before coming to Berkeley in 2001. He earned his BA in history at Harvard in 1976, and his MA (1978) and PhD (1984) in modern European/French history at the University of Wisconsin. His latest book, "Paris and the Spirit of 1919" is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press next year.

Ban Wang is William Haas Professor in Chinese Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Stanford University

Lanjun Xu is Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies at National University of Singapore, where she teaches modern Chinese literature and culture. She received her Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from Princeton University in 2007 and is finishing a book manuscript titled "Original Subjects: Producing the Child in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture." She has also started to work on a new book project on Chinese Opera Films in Sinophone Asia of 1950s and 1960s, with a particular focus on the cultural interactions between Mao's China and the Southeast Asian region.

Guobin Yang is Associate Professor in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures and the Department of Sociology at Barnard College, Columbia University. He is the author of The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online and co-editor (with Ching Kwan Lee) of Re-Envisioning the Chinese Revolution: The Politics and Poetics of Collective Memories in Reform China (2007).

Darren Zook teaches in International and Area Studies and Political Science at UC Berkeley. His areas of interest include international law, human rights, security studies, comparative Asian politics, and the politics of music. He has worked extensively in Southeast Asia and is currently at work on a project focusing on political change in Malaysia.



The conference "Mao's Little Red Book: A Global History" will be held at the Institute of East Asian Studies in the 6th floor conference room, at 2223 Fulton Street. You will find IEAS in section D1 of this campus map.

Campus map

Directions to the Berkeley campus

If traveling by BART, exit the Richmond-Fremont line at the Berkeley station (not North Berkeley). When you leave the BART station, walk south down Shattuck Avenue to Kittredge Street (two or three blocks depending on which station exit you leave from) and turn left. Walk up Kittredge Street one block, and you will be at the Institute of East Asian Studies (2223 Fulton Street).

From Interstate 80

To reach the campus by car from Interstate 80, exit at the University Avenue off-ramp in Berkeley. Take University Avenue east (toward the hills) approximately two miles until you reach the campus. Turn right on Oxford. Oxford changes names to Fulton Street when you get to Fulton and Kittredge (which is the location of the Institute of East Asian Studies at 2223 Fulton Street).

From Highways 24/13

To reach the campus from Highways 24/13, exit 13 at Tunnel Road in Berkeley. Continue on Tunnel Road as it becomes Ashby. Turn right at College Avenue and drive approximately one mile north to Bancroft Way.

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