Afterlives of Chinese Communism comprises essays from over fifty world-renowned scholars in the China field, from various disciplines and continents. It provides an indispensable guide for understanding how the Mao era continues to shape Chinese politics today. Each chapter discusses a concept or practice from the Mao period, what it attempted to do, and what has become of it since. The authors respond to the legacy of Maoism from numerous perspectives to consider what lessons Chinese communism can offer today, and whether there is a future for the egalitarian politics that it once promised.
Co-published by ANU Press.
“Whether Maoist China was a ‘cunning of reason’ to achieve nationalism through a communist strategy, or the reverse, is certainly one of the few enigmas whose resolution is truly decisive if we want to know where we stand now, in the global age of absolute capitalism and its looming crisis. It is hotly disputed. This book, to put it in Spinozian terms, does not deride or idealize: it seeks to understand. Which makes it invaluable.”
“Afterlives of Chinese Communism explores the key concepts of revolutionary China and how they have been repurposed in the post-socialist present. This masterful ensemble of essays challenges us to learn from China’s socialist past— its visions, accomplishments, and mistakes—as we contemplate our possible futures.”
“Afterlives of Chinese Communism is an incredible political and historical resource as well as being an unquestionable achievement of accessible and engaged scholarship. This volume dispels the fog of Cold War infused denunciation and Western countercultural idealization of Maoism and Chinese Communism: the collective nature of its labors makes itself felt in the cross-referenced, dialogic quality of the contributions. A rigorous historiography from the Left, the authors, who range from graduate students and activists to the most accomplished scholars in the field, remain unstintingly objective, while being faithful to the political horizons of Communism on its own terms. Each contribution historicizes the CCP’s political struggles without reducing them to theoretical clichés. The volume will offer every reader a sobering, yet inspiring vision of what can be accomplished in the name of Leftism and class-based mass politics.”
“This is a varied and valuable collection of short essays on words and concepts. The editors have brought together an admirably diverse set of contributors, allowing them to showcase work done in a wide range of locales and disciplines, and the result is a book that works well as both a text to read straight through and as a resource to dip into when trying to make sense of an issue, a document, or an event associated with the Mao era.”
“Complete, authoritative, and clear, this masterfully selected volume should become the indispensable resource not only for scholars of modern China but also anyone interested in the global history of radical politics in the tumultuous twentieth century.”