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Remember to Forget: Critique of a Critical Case Study

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image of Historiography East and West

The Oral History project, initiated and carried out by a group of Chinese scholars, is a sociological attempt in grasping the significance of the Maoist revolution for us today. This article, which is inspired by an interesting study of the Land Reform taken from the project, argues that a chief reason for the political victory of the Maoist revolution in China lies in its power for reshaping the relationship of the present to the past, that is, in the power of making a new mode of memory for the world of everyday life. In other words, it is not simply the material gains but a better story about what we can or should be, told by the Maoist revolutionaries that led to such a victory. It is this imaginative socialist story that grabbed the hearts and heads of ordinary people fighting for the future of the People's Republic. The key theoretical issues here are about memory and narrative; and these are discussed with reference to Husserl's philosophy via David Carr's formulation.


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