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Victims, Martyrs and Heroes: The Formation and Manipulation of Historical Memory in China

Horowitz, Deena (2015) Victims, Martyrs and Heroes: The Formation and Manipulation of Historical Memory in China. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Decades of spectacular economic growth and globalization have resulted in profound economic and social changes in China. These changes have been accompanied by a political and ideological transformation from Communism to Authoritarianism. Throughout its rule, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has deliberately controlled and altered historical narratives by means such as museum exhibition practices and the creation of national commemoration days. These means are now being used to advert a growing crisis of faith in Communist belief and, most importantly, bolster and justify the Party's continued rule over a rapidly changing nation. Historical memory, museums exhibitions and commemorative days are used to distract from the impact of profound social changes in today's China. The promotion of three separate identity formations (victim, martyr and hero) solidifies national identity and offers alternative identities based on carefully constructed history to such competing identities based on the capitalist economic transformation, such as consumer or millionaire. There are four main contemporary issues that have led the CCP to leverage the memory of the Anti-Japanese War of 1931/37-45 to promote state sanctioned nationalism: first, the need to provide a legitimating ideology in the face of a collapsing communist ideology and practice; second, the quest to bind the Chinese people together in the face of economic forces which are driving a gap in society and causing vast social inequalities; third the ongoing desire to unify the nation with Taiwan; and finally the ongoing historical debate and heightening territory disputes with Japan.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Horowitz, Deenadeenamhorowitz@gmailcom
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRawski, Evelynesrx@pitt.eduESRX
Committee MemberLuesink,
Committee MemberWezel, Katjawezel@pitt.eduWEZEL
Date: 1 June 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 April 2015
Approval Date: 1 June 2015
Submission Date: 20 April 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 58
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > East Asian Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chinese Nationalism
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2015 17:07
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:27


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