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2014 events

Interpreting China Through Propaganda: A History of Media-Watching During and After the Cold War

Dr Matthew Johnson, Assistant Professor, Grinnell College, US

Research seminar

4-6pm, Wednesday 19th March

Room K-1.14, King's Building, Strand Campus

All are welcome to China Institute research seminars - no need to register


This paper will draw on social science and historical scholarship from the 1950s to the present to discuss how understandings of Chinese Communist Party propaganda, and its social effects, have and have not changed over time. The first issue to be analysed is the impact of pre- and post-Second World War theories of communications on how China's propaganda has been studied. The second is the question of whether or not the "cultural turn" in the social sciences and humanities has offered any new appraisals of propaganda's significance as a topic of inquiry.


Matthew Johnson is Assistant Professor of East Asian History at Grinnell College in the US and is currently an Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford China Centre. From 2008 to 2010 he was departmental lecturer in the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford, and an affiliated researcher with the Leverhulme Trust-funded China's War with Japan Programme directed by Professor Rana Mitter. Dr Johnson is a scholar of communications as a political and social force, with expertise in the fields of modern history, contemporary history, comparative politics, war and society, and China/East Asia. His research focuses on four interrelated issues: the impact of war in East Asia; the historical origins and geography of China's contemporary "propaganda state"; US-China international and transnational relations; and how contemporary narratives concerning China are produced, circulated, and consumed.

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