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"Prepare for War": Civil Defense, Population Dispersal, and Tianjin's Cultural Revolution

Jeremy Brown gives a talk on the effects that the Cold War as well as the Cultural Revolution had on the residents of Tianjin.

April 24, 2008 12:00am

Thursday, April 24, 2008
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, residents of the port city of Tianjin mobilized for war against the Soviet Union and the United States. Thousands of families were forced to move to suburban villages or remote provinces, ostensibly to disperse the urban population and reduce damage from the anticipated bombardment of China’s densely inhabited eastern seaboard. This talk draws upon archival documents, personal letters, petitions, and interviews to examine who left Tianjin, what impact these displaced families had in villages, and how the dispersed population fought to regain urban residency as the course of the Cultural Revolution and geopolitics shifted during the 1970s.

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Jeremy Brown is a Ph.D. Candidate in Chinese history at the University of California, San Diego. He is editor (with Paul G. Pickowicz) of Dilemmas of Victory: The Early Years of the People’s Republic of China  (Harvard, 2007), and author of "Staging Xiaojinzhuang: The City in the Countryside," in The Chinese Cultural Revolution as History (Stanford, 2006). His dissertation focuses on crossing the rural-urban divide in Mao’s China.