What to make of the fact that China is ruled by a Communist Party which detains and arrests people studying Maoism, organising workers, or campaigning for women’s liberation is a difficult task. All the more so when that same Party continues to speak in the language of socialist construction, mass organization and Leninist control of the ‘commanding heights’. This is one reason why the compendium Afterlives of Chinese Communism: Political Concepts from Mao to Xi
(Verso & Australian National University Press, 2019), edited by Christian Sorace
, Ivan Franceschini
and Nicholas Loubere,
is such an invaluable project.
Through 53 pithy chapters which deal with key ideas from class struggle to thought reform, and trace rich thematic strands linked to affect, aesthetics, internationalism, tradition and the state, this book offers a vast lexicon of fresh approaches to the dizzying world of change and consistency which characterize today’s China. Furthermore, the collection is a highly readable account of recent Chinese history which should prove indispensable in working out where the country is going next and, in the spirit of the radicalism which is the book’s subject matter, it is also open access and free to download
from the ANU Press website.
Ed Pulford is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam. His research focuses on friendships and histories between the Chinese, Korean and Russian worlds, and northeast Asian indigenous groups.