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The Eclipse of an Electronic Monument: The Life Cycle and Visual Memory of Mao’s Funeral
March 21, 2019 - 12:15-13:00
On September 9, 1976, Chairman Mao died; nine days later, a grand state memorial involving one million people was held on the Tiananmen Square, which was broadcast live all across the nation. This “live broadcasting of history,” however, gradually faded away and failed to enter the repertoire of public memory. By analyzing the circulation of the images related to Mao’s death, this talk shall track the life cycle of the media event, so as to explore the politics of visual memory in contemporary China. The eclipse of this electronic monument, Li argues, is largely due to the presence of censorship and the lack of resonance between the event’s script and the wider socio-political culture in the post-Mao era. As a result, this unprecedented state ceremony has been relegated to a historical turning point in recent Chinese history.
Lecturer’s bio: Li Hongtao is a Professor of media studies at Zhejiang University and an Associate Professor Ⅱ in the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo. His research interests include environmental politics, media sociology, and cultural memory.