China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed

Thursday, March 7, 2024
4:45 PM 6:15 PM

The lecture series “Unmasking the CCP: History, Politics, and Society in post-1949 China” is a pioneering initiative to delve into the complex and often obscured aspects of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since its establishment in 1949. This bold series aims to ‘unmask’ the realities that have been obscured by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s misinformation campaigns and overlooked in existing scholarship. It questions established narratives about the CCP and PRC, offering new perspectives on contemporary Chinese history. Featuring two lectures each semester, or four annually, the series will invite esteemed speakers from across the globe, including Hong Kong, France, and Australia. Their international perspectives are crucial for complementing American scholarship, highlighting viewpoints often underrepresented in domestic discourse.

Information about the inaugural lecture (the first in the series) is as follows:

Opening Remarks: Provost Michael Kotlikoff

Lecture Title: China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed

Speaker: Andrew Walder (Denise O’Leary & Kent Thiry Professor at Stanford University)

Time: 4:45 to 6:15 pm on March 7, 2024

Venue: Physical Sciences Building 120

Registration link

Talk Description: China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed

China’s Communist Party seized power in 1949 after a long period of guerrilla insurgency followed by full-scale war, but the Chinese revolution was just beginning. What were the distinctive accomplishments and failures of that revolutionary period, and what drove Mao Zedong’s motivations in launching the Great Leap Forward and the attack on his own party-state during the Cultural Revolution? In his talk, Professor Walder will examine the rise and fall of the Maoist revolutionary state from 1949 to 1976―an epoch of startling accomplishments and disastrous failures, steered by many forces but dominated above all by Mao.

Speaker Bio: Professor Andrew G. Walder Headshot of Andrew G. Walder

Andrew G. Walder is a renowned sociologist and the Denise O’Leary and Kent Thiry Professor at Stanford University, where he is also a senior fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. With a career marked by significant contributions to the understanding of communist regimes and their successor states, Walder has been a leading voice in examining the sources of conflict, stability, and change in these systems. Walder’s academic journey includes a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan, followed by teaching positions at Columbia University, Harvard, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Joining Stanford’s faculty in 1997, his research has spanned from the socio-economic organization of early Mao-era China to the political mobilization of the late 1960s, and the subsequent collapse and rebuilding of the Chinese party-state. His focus also extends to post-Mao China, analyzing patterns of stratification, social mobility, and inequality. His distinguished career is marked by fellowships and grants from prestigious institutions, including the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Science Foundation. Walder’s scholarly work has been recognized with awards from various academic associations, and he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Guggenheim fellow. His recent publications, such as “Fractured Rebellion: The Beijing Red Guard Movement,” “China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed,” and “Civil War in Guangxi: The Cultural Revolution on China’s Southern Periphery,” reflect his deep engagement with the complexities of China’s political and social history.