Mao's Cultural Army: Drama Troupes in China's Rural by Brian James DeMare

By Brian James DeMare

Charting their education, travels, and performances, this leading edge examine explores the function of the artists that roamed the chinese language geographical region in help of Mao's communist revolution. DeMare lines the advance of Mao's 'cultural military' from its genesis in purple military propaganda groups to its complete improvement as a mostly civilian strength composed of beginner drama troupes within the early years of the PRC. Drawing from memoirs, creative handbooks, and infrequent archival assets, Mao's Cultural military uncovers the hard and complicated strategy of growing progressive dramas that may attract China's all-important rural audiences. The Communists strived for a disciplined cultural military to advertise social gathering rules, yet audiences usually refrained from glossy and didactic exhibits, and in its place clamoured for normal works. DeMare illustrates how drama troupes, stuck among the occasion and their audiences, did their top to withstand the ever becoming achieve of the PRC nation.

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Mao's Cultural Army: Drama Troupes in China's Rural Revolution

Charting their education, travels, and performances, this leading edge research explores the function of the artists that roamed the chinese language nation-state in help of Mao's communist revolution. DeMare lines the improvement of Mao's 'cultural military' from its genesis in crimson military propaganda groups to its complete improvement as a principally civilian strength composed of beginner drama troupes within the early years of the PRC.

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49 This transformation of reality closely corresponds with the Communist Party’s own understanding of the unique rituals of land reform, which were to play a pivotal role in the total and irrevocable transformation of village society. No ritual, however, proved more critical to the campaigns than the “struggle” meeting. , 31–32. Clifford Geertz, “Religion as a Cultural Symbol,” in The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973), 112. Introduction: Performing Mao’s revolution 19 During “struggle” meetings, newly labeled peasants publicly and ritualistically humiliated newly labeled class enemies.

Mao carefully described how organized groups of peasants ritualistically and publicly humiliated village elites with methods that would eventually be recognized as typical elements of “struggle” meetings. During “major demonstrations” (da shiwei), for example, peasants rallied together and marched to the house of a landlord or local tyrant, slaughtering the household’s pigs and consuming their grain as well. Another highly ritualistic political attack was to forcibly parade a class enemy wearing a dunce cap (gao maozi) through the village for further ridicule.

34 Mao’s Cultural Army important tools for “educating” enemy soldiers. Clearly, some in the audience found Red Drama moving. Convinced by the usefulness of the August 1 Drama Troupe, cultural leaders moved to develop a broader and more systematic drama troupe system. Thus, in September 1932, less than a year after its founding, the August 1 Drama Troupe was reformed as the Worker-Peasant Dramatic Society (Gongnong jushe), under the control of the Red Army Political Department. 30 The troupe was a highly organized unit, with distinct sections for creation, direction, dance, song, and music.

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