Matthew Z. Noellert F'17
Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships 2017
University of Iowa
Beyond Fanshen: New Perspectives on Communist Land Reform from Northeast China, 1946-1948
Based on my doctoral dissertation, this book manuscript project presents the most complete account to date of one Chinese county’s experience of Land Reform. By utilizing new, systematic data from county archives, I investigate Land Reform as a process that was carried out by actors at multiple levels in a county consisting of hundreds of villages. I show that Land Reform was neither a solely top-down process of CCP policy enforcement nor a bottom-up process of mass mobilization, but rather a complex combination of the two that challenges common understandings of authoritarian regimes. I argue that this combination was key to the success of the CCP, and not only transformed the lives of millions of rural Chinese but also shaped the future trajectories of China’s subsequent development.