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Conference: "Reading Intellectual and Literary Change during China’s Long 1970s"

Conference to be held in Freiburg, May 5-6, 2017, hosted by the project “Worlds of Reading in China’s long 1970s: Reading and Writing during the Cultural Revolution”, organized by Lena Henningsen and Oliver Schulz

China’s long 1970s are an era of tremendous political turmoil and of intellectual change. The era, comprising both the Cultural Revolution and the years preceding and following it, was marked by harsh political campaigns, experiences of insecurity and terror on the one hand as well as revolutionary enthusiasm, changing social roles and norms and the attempt to break free from traditional elements of culture on the other. The period also witnessed massive governmental interference with education and the sciences, and massive governmental control of the publishing and distribution of reading material and, thus, of intellectual life in general.
During this workshop we will approach intellectual change during China’s long 1970s through the lens of reading practices and the debates surrounding it. We contend that an analysis of what was read is central to an assessment of intellectual as well as literary change. Reading matters include what was officially tolerated and propagated, but also what was forbidden by political authorities, but circulated nonetheless, albeit clandestinely. The influence of publications from the internal publishing system (neibu cankao 内部参考) will be addressed, just like unofficial (or even illegal) handwritten texts that circulated widely during the 1970s. Fictional readings, as well as factual readings and poetry all make up this reading cosmos.

Speakers at this conference will be Timothy Cheek (keynote), Peidong Sun, Lorenz Bichler, Puck Engman, Emily Graf, Lena Henningsen, Rui Kunze, Damian Mandzunowski, Tabea Mühlbach, Duncan Paterson, Elisabeth Schleep, and Oliver Schulz. Discussants will be Daniel Leese, Barbara Mittler et al.

Refer to here for the Conference Program.

Please register with the conference organisers: or by Friday April 28. Registration is not required for the keynote-talk.

For more information about the project, please consult:

or contact:
Lena Henningsen
Oliver Schulz


Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Institut für Sinologie
Werthmannstraße 12
D-79098 Freiburg i. Br.

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