Revolution on Air: Radio Technology and Socialist Culture in China’s Global Engagement


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants


East Asian Languages and Cultures


By tracing the role of radio in China’s socialist revolution, my project contends that China was similar to, rather than different from, the United States and the Soviet Union in their fascination with and dependence on science and technology. Despite the suspension of formal scientific institutions, Maoist China witnessed alternative and informal courses of scientific development and technological innovation. A powerful media technology, radio underpinned the formulation and spread of a new socialist culture, as cultural products were relayed domestically and abroad during the Cold War. At the same time, by tinkering with their self-assembled or self-modified radio receivers, many youngsters experienced a process of “skilling” and unwittingly subverted state control.