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Title: Wu Xun, Song Jingshi, and Lin Zexu: Cinema and Historiography in Mao’s China (1949-1966)
Authors: Prof. HE Qiliang 
Wang, Meng 
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Asian Studies Review, 2022, vol. 46(2), pp. 331-349.
Journal: Asian Studies Review 
Abstract: This article takes the political campaign against The life of Wu Xun (Wu Xun zhuan, 1950), launched by Mao Zedong in 1951, as a point of departure to explore the intertwining relationship between cinema and the new historiography in post-1949 China. While the criticisms of The life of Wu Xun highlighted the central role of peasant warfare in imperial Chinese history and thereby resulted in the growing popularity of the class view in Chinese historiography, the making of two other films set in the Qing dynasty, Song Jingshi (1955) and Lin Zexu (1959), attested to a tension between two historiographical trends in Mao’s China: the class view and historicism. This article argues that the entanglement of historians and non-historians, including filmmakers, allowed for the making of a history-centred public space of communication for both historians and laypersons alike to resort to China’s past to make sense of the present and even attack Mao. Second, such a mode of history-qua-political discussion and polemic paved the way for the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution. In the mid-1960s, the tension between two historiographical trends would finally lead to the purge of historical researchers, filmmakers, writers and dramatists during the Cultural Revolution. 本文从1951年批判电影《武训传》的政治风潮及以晚清历史为背景的电影《宋景诗》与《林则徐》的创作出发, 探讨中华人民共和国前十七年电影与历史学之间密切的, 甚至可以说共生的关系。《宋景诗》与《林则徐》的创作思想体现了两大历史学新观点, 即阶级分析以及历史主义。此二者之间的张力贯穿了整个十七年时期的史学界, 直至六十年代学术界论战的爆发。本文的主要观点是, 历史学家与非历史学家 (包括电影工作者) 的共同努力, 在二十世纪五六十年代造就了一个以探讨历史为中心的公共空间。在这一空间中, 历史专业与非专业人士以古论今, 进行历史研究或创造文艺作品, 以期更好地理解并批评当前的社会政治形势。然而, 正是这种普遍性的映射史学, 成为‘文化大革命’的爆发一个导火索。二十世纪六十年代中后期, 许多历史学者, 电影工作者, 作家与戏剧家受到的批判与政治冲击事实上都可以回溯到五六十年代两种历史学潮流—即阶级分析与历史主义—的碰撞。
Type: Peer Reviewed Journal Article
DOI: 10.1080/10357823.2021.1996534
Appears in Collections:History - Publication

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