“In Mao’s China, to curate revolution was to make it material.”
Denise Y. Ho’s new book explores this premise in a masterful account of exhibitionary culture in the Mao period (1949-1976) and beyond. Curating Revolution: Politics on Display in Mao’s China (Cambridge University Press, 2017) argues that “curating revolution taught people how to take part in revolution,” and it develops that argument in a series of case studies that take readers into the local context of museums, revolutionary monuments, model neighborhoods, and more in Shanghai, while paying careful attention to the ways that the Shanghai case resonates with the larger scope of Maoist China as a whole. It’s a study that will be of interest to readers of Chinese history, museum studies, material cultures, and more. We spoke about the book for the New Books in East Asian Studies Podcast, and you can listen to the conversation here.