Jeremy Brown and Matthew D. JohnsonMar 7, 2016
Maoism at the Grassroots
Everyday Life in China's Era of High Socialism
Harvard University Press 2015
Jeremy Brown and Matthew D. Johnson's new edited volume offers a fresh perspective on the history of the Mao Zedong era (1949-1978). Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China's Era of High Socialism (Harvard UP, 2015) collects a wonderful range of essays from top scholars across North America and China, each embodying a "grassroots history" that focuses on the everyday life of individual people. The essays mobilize a diverse range of sources, from files purchased in used book markets to diaries to municipal archives, and much more. They also collectively challenge readers to think differently about the temporality of the Mao period, by locating unusual turning-points and key years of change within the frame of "high socialism." Over the course of our conversation, we talked about the genesis of the project, the practicalities of editing and translation, and the challenges and opportunities of international collaboration across different political and linguistic environments. Enjoy!