Archive for the ‘history466’ Category

Possible Proposal Topics

Friday, January 28th, 2011

The three main topics that I wanted to do for my research paper are China’s Involvement in the Vietnam War, China in the Korea War and the present day political tensions between China and Japan.

Topic 1#- China’s Involvement in the Vietnam War

Their main involvement in the Vietnam War was when China was trying to invade Vietnam in 1979.   The sources that I have found so for this topic are “Beyond Betrayal” by Lorenz M. Luthi and China’s 1979 War With Vietnam a  Resentment by Xiaoming Zhang.

Topic 2#- China’s Involvement in the Korean War

In this war, China was on North Korea’s side, which who were against South Korea, The United States and their allies.  The main reason that China got involved in the Korean War because they did a joint diplomatic effort with the Soviet Union to save North Korea’s regime from South Korea and the United Nations.  The starting topic that I found so far was “A Survey: China and the Korean War” by Jun Yushida.

Topic #3- Present day relations with China and Japan

This topic is about the present day political disagreements and tensions between China and Japan.  The only source that I have found with this topic was

030710 Rethinking the Chinese Developmental Miracle QQC

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Quote:  “By the end of the 1980s, Taiwan had become the second largest trading partner and investor for mainland China.”  (59)

Comment & Question:

This quote, or statistic rather, left me sort of confused about the relationship between Taiwan and China.  Not having a lot of background with the subject (truth be told, before this class, I had no idea the two countries were at all related), I was under the impression that there was tension between the two.  I was googling the topic a few weeks ago because it interested me and some of the things I remember reading were that China refuses to be a partners with countries that recognize the legitimacy of the Taiwan government, especially when it comes to the term ‘China’ in world organizations like the WHO.  So I’m left wondering why China would want to be involved in so much trade and foreign investments with Taiwan in the 80s.  Wouldn’t that be recognizing the legitimacy of Taiwan, at the very least by giving them importing and exporting power that generate revenue for Taiwan’s businesses?  Do they consider this type of trade domestic and assume Taiwan will soon be returned to mainland China, therefore, the economic gains of Taiwan will benefit China in the future?  It sounds strange to me that they would want to give Taiwan any kind of financial strength since a weaker Taiwan would more inclined to welcome a reunion with the mainland.

022210 Balibar QQC.

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Quote:  “Nationalism and patriotism are the religion of modern times.” paraphrased (95)

Comment:  I’ve always been taught in history classes that patriotism is good, nationalism is bad.  Patriotism is a simple celebration of where you’re from, a pride in your nation.  Nationalism, however, is evil and starts wars.  To be honest, I’ve never really seen the difference between the two except that at some point, the good parts of patriotism turns into big, bad nationalism.  As Balibar points out what the defining characteristics for what constitutes the boundaries of a nation are, I still don’t see the difference.

Borders can’t be defined by race, religion, language or class, since there are such a large amount of differences in them everywhere.  From a previous post-colonial literature class I had, one of the things I remember is that Nigeria has over 150 language dialects within its country alone.  Somewhere along the line, though, a community and a common national identity was formed and the population become Nigerian.  Is this when patriotism begins, when you have that common national identity in place?  When does nationalism begin then?

Some of the visual representations of China that we have seen thus far, like the Landsberger posters, I suppose would lean toward the idea of nationalism.  They are definitely patriotic, a little too patriotic.  Is it the involvement of the military on the posters that turns it from being simply patriotic to nationalist?  To be willing to use force to prove your patriotism?  Is it patriotic to want Taiwan back as part the official Republic of China, but nationalist to want them back while pointing large artillery in their direction?  I’m not sure.  All I am sure of is that someone who isn’t patriotic toward whatever they feel their home country is, to most people, may as well be viewed as a traitor, and someone who is too patriotic is considered a nationalist.  So I suppose the key is to find a balance.

Questions:  Within.

020710 Braester QQC

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Quote:  “Memories are unstable and given to interpretation in different keys.” (204)

Comment:  This article was interesting not only as background to the Cultural Revolution and the way it is remembered, but also as a psychological study of how any human remembers the past.  Braester notes how for some, the ‘sunny days’ of the 1960s and 1970s were actually not such a great time in China, but that the nostalgia for the days when they were teenagers overrules any events that may have taken place.  An interesting parallel that Braester makes to one of the movies is that they say the present was in black and white, while the memory was shot in color (205) because the present is a faded memory, but the stereotypical movie shot of a flashback in most films I think does the reverse of this.  Because the flashback is a memory, they are in black and white and not colored because details such as color are lost over time.  After thinking about the two sides of the argument for a little, I am inclined to lean towards the side that considers the past more colorful than the present.  Bad memories seem to disappear slowly over time, while the good ones become exxagerated, glorified, and added to.  Like the character Xiaojun on page 204, a memory can play tricks on you so that you remember things that never even happened.

Question:  Can we really blame the people who were involved in the Cultural Revolution for feeling nostalgic over the good old days when they were “seventeen or eighteen–the most beautiful time in one’s life” (199), since most people generally fall into this category no matter where they were or what historical events were happening?

Landsberger Poster.

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010


The caption for this piece is “Everybody helps a hand to destroy the Four Pests, 1960.”  This poster stuck out to me because it is one of the few that depict an unhappy crowd on it.  The main characters, man, woman, and child, are seen debugging some of the pests that Mao ordered to be destroyed (although it seems the sparrow is missing).  They are all in action, but the first one that stuck out to me was the young boy ready to bring down the flyswatter with force.  This shows the force that the CCP was hoping to enact by this ruling.  The woman with the poison suggests that the enemy bugs will be taking out by any means necessary.  Finally, the man on the right is cleaning up the mess that remains (if this was done at the same time in America, the woman would probably have the broom).

After thinking for a minute about this, I came to the conclusion that this poster could be taking on more than just the “Four Pests.”  The insects here are treated as an enemy, they are beaten down while the crowd of people enjoy victory from above.  If the people can rise against these pests with such victory, and the pests are an enemy of the people, then the same method that are implied can be used to defeat any enemy into the same submission as these insects whether natural, domestic, or foreign.  Any enemy will be met with force and technological warfare (biological if necessary, as in the picture), and then the results will be cleaned up by the winner, in this case, the Chinese.

020110 QQC

Monday, February 1st, 2010


“Painting the image of Mao Zedong in ways that departed from the approved version could earn the artist condemnation as a counterrevolutionary, as was the case with a Mao-badge designer from Inner Mongolia who altered the profile of Mao to face right and not left.” (Evans & Donald 4)


I never thought about the level of preciseness that would go into the creation of these posters that is forced upon the artist by the CCP.  The idea of an artist having their natural ability as a creator stripped from them entirely in order to make exactly what the Party wants somehow shocks me.  I understand the Party would want a certain image and message contained within their picture, but it seems that showing a different angle would not stop this.  This is not an isolated event, as Chen points out another example in his chapter, “the portrait of Mao in their classroom showed only his left ear, a “serious political problem” on the part of the artist who had thus dared to insult the great leader” (104).


The portrait of Mao is held as sacred as a religious icon, so my question is in this era of accessibility in the media added to the ease of making unbecoming Photoshops on a computer, would this and could this still be as strictly enforced if things were still run the same.



HIST 471 – Topic Proposal

Friday, January 29th, 2010

012810 Topic Proposal

012110 Ten Years of Madness.

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

I thought it was interesting to read the three accounts of people who lived through the event supplemented by the Appendix of people too young to go through it.  The three interviews were filled with regret, sorrow, and an overall feeling of horror while the younger generation, having no understanding of the experience, claimed that maybe it wasn’t as bad as it’s made out to be.  The younger generation had a sort of absent nostalgia for the CR.  Everything is so caught up in money nowadays, they think that perhaps this would’ve been an interesting even to be a part of, without imagining the consequences.  I can’t imagine what this would parallel in America, perhaps our 1960s, too, but to much lesser extent.  A younger generation puts on a tie dyed shirt and a Hendrix album and glorifies a past they were never a part of, forgetting that everything wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

Benson Outline.

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

011610 China Since 1949 Outline

011510 China Candid QQC

Friday, January 15th, 2010

“Executioners are people too; and what they’re shooting at is not just skittles.” (308)

The two chapters of Sang Ye’s China Candid I chose to read were “Little Sweetie” and “Parting Shot.”  In Parting Shot, which this quote is from, we follow the life of an government executioner as he gives behind the scenes details of what happens after a criminal has been sentenced to death, and the manner and tradition the sentence order of death is performed.

I found this interesting because though I have imagined what capital punishment might be like for the convicted, I think that is accurate to say that I have never once imagined what the people that must carry out the sentence go through.

By the tone of this interview, I believe the speaker when he says “I hope you don’t think I belong to any particular school [of opinion involving capital punishment].  My job is to carry out executions” (299).  The speaker gives accounts of the prisoners last acts of their lives, but shows little support or regret regarding the system that he works for.  It is simply their job.  He finds flaws in the system, such as the bureaucracy of needing a 4 to 1 ratio for every prisoner, but never argues with the institution itself.

Having the advantage of reading a previous post about this same story by kjamison (they mention that though it seems through this interview that the east and west are similar, they still seem worlds apart), I would question whether they are really so far apart.  The speaker repeats a few times, “you’re growing melons, and I’m growing beans, and it’s only in the early days that the two crops look similar” (299).  This restates that the basis of the United State’s version of capital punishment and China’s version are indeed similar at heart, although, their methods are different.  Throughout the reading, I felt that the speaker was saying that the psychological aspect of the criminal knowing that their life is limited is the real torture.  He offers a quick and painless physical death, just as the United States claims to offer with lethal injections.  The wait on death row is the real punishment, which we also have, so are they really worlds apart?