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LRCCS Noon Lecture Series | Chairman Mao’s Children and China’s Difficult Past: Generation, Class, and Memory

Bin Xu, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Emory University
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
12:00-1:00 PM
Room 110 Weiser Hall Map
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Chinese government sent about 17 million secondary school graduates (the “educated youth” or “zhiqing”) to villages, state farms, and military corps, to achieve some practical and ideological goals. The "send-down" program, however, failed dismally and had detrimental impacts on the zhiqing generation’s life courses. Despite its failure, the zhiqing’s memory of their sent-down years is a mixture of grievance, resentment, self-congratulation, nostalgia, and heroism. Drawing on various data collected through interviews, ethnography, archival research, and textual analysis (2013-2018), Professor Xu examines their memory to explore the mentality and political views of this generation of “Chairman Mao’s children,” who have inherited the legacy of the Mao years and have to reconcile it with the sea changes in the post-Mao society, and theorize the relations between generation, class, and memory.

Bin Xu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Emory University. His research interests lie at the intersection of politics and culture. He is the author of "The Politics of Compassion: The Sichuan Earthquake and Civic Engagement in China" (Stanford University Press, 2017), which has won two book awards from the American Sociological Association. His research has also appeared in leading sociological and China studies journals. He is currently writing a book and a few related articles on the collective memory of China’s “educated youth” (zhiqing) generation—the 17 million youths sent down to the countryside in the 1960s and 1970s.

If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to attend this event, please reach out to us at least 2 weeks in advance of this event. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange. Email us at
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Asia, Chinese Studies, History, Sociology
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures