What is it about?

This article scrutinizes global economic history during the Cold War in order to examine how Maoist China deeply engaged with global capitalism and how the socialist realist, utopian representation of Dazhai, a model village in Shanxi, generated the socialist persona of Maoist China despite its domestication of global capitalism.

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Why is it important?

This visual cultural study provides insight into the hidden dimension of Maoist socialist construction which demanded external capital from capitalist countries in order to build socialism inside China.


The economic history of China drove me to see Maoist visual culture differently. It was an eye-opening and exciting experience.

Dr Victoria Young Ji Lee
State University of New York (Korea-FIT)

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This page is a summary of: A Utopia of Self-Reliance, positions asia critique, November 2020, Duke University Press, DOI: 10.1215/10679847-8606484.
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