Jian Ming Chris Chang F'17
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2017
East Asian Languages & Cultures
Communist Miscellany: The Paperwork of Revolution
This project is a history of bureaucratic file-making and paperwork in Maoist China, considered through the institution of individual dossiers on Chinese subjects known as dang’an. Drawing upon a source base of deaccessioned case files, it examines how low-level communist bureaucrats counterbalanced contradictory imperatives to permanent revolution and socialist governance through scrupulous routines of information management and clerical labor. The investigative and file-keeping practices entailed by the dossier system illuminate bureaucratic approaches to issues of administration, local justice, and archive, while revealing fractures in a communist polity that often struggled to contain the impact of its own emancipatory ideology.