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Remaking the Future in Socialist China: The Campaign Against Fortune Telling

Join Professor Baum of the University of California, Irvine on her talk about fortune telling. 

February 21, 2020 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Presenter: Emily Baum, Associate Professor of Modern Chinese History, University of California, Irvine

Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, the Chinese Communist Party strove to eradicate “superstitious” thoughts and practices, among which fortune telling figured prominently. By demonstrating that the only way to influence the present and future was through physical engagement with the material environment, the CCP sought to undermine the view that a person’s fortunes could be manipulated by spiritual intermediaries. This talk will examine the campaign to suppress fortune telling in the early PRC, and will argue that the ultimate goal of the movement was to replace individual metaphysics with a Party-sanctioned materialism – one that bound the wellbeing of the individual to the collective prosperity of the nation.