Curating the Cultural Revolution: The Rent Collection Courtyard Then and Now

October 27, 2016

Join us on Friday, October 28 at 12:00 pm for a talk in the East Asia Library (2nd floor of SML) in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. 

During this year’s fiftieth anniversary of China’s Cultural Revolution, many have invoked the writer Ba Jin’s call for a Cultural Revolution Museum. Why has there been so little commemoration—state and otherwise—of one of the most important periods of China’s twentieth century?

This talk by Professor Denise Ho of Yale’s History Department, explores the history of the Rent Collection Courtyard, an exhibition that was displayed before and during the Cultural Revolution and which became one of the Mao period’s most iconic “model works." To this day, the Rent Collection Courtyard is on display in China, even though it is presented as art rather than propaganda. Professor Ho will examine the practice of exhibiting class in the 1960s, the role of display in the Cultural Revolution, and the legacy of the Rent Collection Courtyard in contemporary China.

Professor Ho is an historian of modern China, with a particular focus on the social and cultural history of China during the Mao period (1949-1976). Her research on the museums and exhibitions of the Mao era—taking Shanghai as a case study—examines the relationship between exhibitionary culture and political campaigns. Her first book, Curating Revolution: Politics on Display in Mao’s China, is under contract with Cambridge University Press.

The talk is in conjunction with the current exhibit in the East Asia Library, From Propaganda Mobilization to Youth Demobilization: Selected Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) Sources in the Yale University Library.

All are welcome. A light lunch will be provided.