History | Mao Zedong and the Chinese Revolution
J400 | 7667 | Muehlhahn


Above class open to majors only
Above class open to undergraduates only
J400: P-HIST J300

The aim of this undergraduate seminar is to critically examine
existing accounts of the life of Mao Zedong, whether he is portrayed
as a great revolutionary, a paranoid tyrant or a mass murderer. We
will do so by exploring not only a variety of secondary sources,
including texts, images and films produced by historians, but also
by looking at some of the primary sources which have been used in
biographies of Mao Zedong, for instance his own writings, interviews
with journalists, reminiscences by contemporaries and key documents
from the campaigns he instigated, in particular the Cultural
Revolution. Using Mao as a case study, students will be introduced
to Chinese history in the 20the Century, but also to
historiographical issues such as biographical writing, the nature of
official memory, the notion of totalitarianism, comparative and
transnational history and state-society relationships.
Students will report on readings, debate issues, and develop a major
research project consisting of a paper of some 15-20 pages in
length. Grades will be based on class participation and writing
assignments. The major research project will constitute a
significant portion of the final grade.

Readings include, among others, Jung Chang, "Mao: The Unknown Story"
(Paperback), and Li Zhi-Sui "The Private Life of Chairman Mao"
(Paperback). Primary historical documents, scholarly essays, and
other shorter readings will be available as e-reserves.