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Across the Great Divide
The Sent-down Youth Movement in Mao's China, 1968–1980

$25.99 (P)

Part of Cambridge Studies in the History of the People's Republic of China

  • Date Published: November 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108712491

$ 25.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • The sent-down youth movement, a Maoist project that relocated urban youth to remote rural areas for 're-education', is often viewed as a defining feature of China's Cultural Revolution and emblematic of the intense suffering and hardship of the period. Drawing on rich archival research focused on Shanghai's youth in village settlements in remote regions, this history of the movement pays particular attention to how it was informed by and affected the critical issue of urban-rural relations in the People's Republic of China. It highlights divisions, as well as connections, created by the movement, particularly the conflicts and collaborations between urban and rural officials. Instead of chronicling a story of victims of a monolithic state, Honig and Zhao show how participants in the movement - the sent-down youth, their parents, and local government officials - disregarded, circumvented, and manipulated state policy, ultimately undermining a decade-long Maoist project.

    • Presents highly original research based on new material from local archives
    • Integrates a rural perspective into the history of the sent-down youth movement
    • Questions received narratives privileging the voices of urban youth
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A wonderfully nuanced and insightful study of China’s monumental Cultural Revolution campaign that sent millions of urban youths to the remote countryside. Based on a wide array of rich archival and interview sources, this is a first-rate work of scholarship that is also eminently readable. Highly recommended for academic and general audiences alike.' Elizabeth J. Perry, Harvard University, Massachusetts

    ‘Across the Great Divide changes our understanding of the sent-down movement and Mao’s China. Focusing on Shanghai youth sent to villages, the book documents not only their experiences, but also the connections and conflicts between them and villagers and between rural and urban officials and parents. The result is a remarkable new history.’ Guobin Yang, University of Pennsylvania

    ‘This well-researched volume by Honig (Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) and Zhao (Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) seeks to probe how China's sent-down youth movement of 1968-80 was informed by and affected relations between state and society, and between city and countryside.’ S. K. Ma, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108712491
    • length: 224 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Farewell to the Huangpu River
    2. Not all quiet on the rural front
    3. The unplanned economy
    4. Inappropriate intimacies
    5. Urban outposts in rural China
    6. Things fall apart
    7. Epilogue.

  • Authors

    Emily Honig, University of California, Santa Cruz
    Emily Honig is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has written extensively on issues of gender and sexuality during the Cultural Revolution. Her books include Sisters and Strangers: Women in the Shanghai Cotton Mills, 1919–1949 (1986) and Creating Chinese Ethnicity: Subei People in Shanghai, 1850–1980 (1992).

    Xiaojian Zhao, University of California, Santa Barbara
    Xiaojian Zhao is Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Remaking Chinese America: Immigration, Family and Community, 1940–1965 (2002), which was awarded the History Book Award by the Association for Asian American Studies. More recently, she authored The New Chinese America: Class, Economy, and Social Hierarchy (2010).

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