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Humans against Machine: The Reign of Virtue and Third World Revolution

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, April 17, 2019. 04:30 PM - 07:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Humanities Center Boardroom
Cold War In Asia: Culture, Technology, History
Meeting Description: 

Referencing the Chinese film Heroic Sons and Daughters, I examine the ideological empowerment of the revolutionary masses by means of the "spiritual atom bomb" against the fetishism of technology and weaponry in the Cold War era.  The reign of virtue-the highly spirited political commitment and mobilization of the population-was the key to the propagation of third world internationalism in the cultural cold war. The surge of this spiritualized politics sought to rally grassroots popular energy and jump-start global social movements in combating the two superpowers. China's export of this ideology to third world nations strove to strengthen the bonds between the Chinese revolution and third world decolonization.

Ban Wang is the William Haas Professor in Chinese studies in East Asian languages and cultures and comparative literature at Stanford University. His major publications include The Sublime Figure of History (Stanford UP, 1997), Illuminations from the Past (Stanford UP, 2004), and History and Memory (Oxford UP, 2004). He has edited and co-edited 7 books on Chinese film, trauma theory, revolution, socialism, and the New Left. His most recent book is an edited volume Chinese Visions of World Order: Tianxia, Culture and World Politics (Duke UP 2017).  He has written widely on East-West cultural relations, aesthetics, cinema, and international politics. A research fellow with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, he has taught at Beijing Foreign Studies University, SUNY-Stony Brook, Harvard University, Rutgers University, Seoul National University, and Yonsei University.