Thought Reform and the Prison in China, 1901-1956
Speaker: Prof. Jan Kiely (Centre for China Studies)
Date: 13 May 2016 (Fri)
Time:  4:00pm
Venue:  G24, Arts and Humanities Hub, Fung King Hey Building, CUHK
Language: English

Professor Kiely will introduce his recent book, The Compelling Ideal: Thought Reform and the Prison in China, 1901-1956 (Yale University Press, 2014), which explores the pre-Communist origins of the process of systematic thought reform or reformation (ganhua 感化) that evolved into the Communists “thought reform” (思想改造) regime – a key component of Mao Zedong’s revolutionary restructuring of Chinese society. Focusing on ganhua as it originated in China’s early twentieth-century prison system, this study brings the history of this critical phenomenon to life through the stories of individuals who conceptualized, implemented, and experienced it, and details how these techniques were subsequently adapted for broader social and political uses.


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