Tuesdays,3:00-5:50, Pick Hall 222
“What isfamiliar is not known” (G.W.F. Hegel)
“Questionyour tea spoons” (Georges Perec)
This graduatecourse will examine the vast and elusive realm of “theeveryday” in post-1949 China, with special attention paid to the1950s and 1960s – a time in which many aspects of everyday lifewere rapidly transformed. In the first few weeks, we will reviewdifferent approaches to the everyday, ranging frommid-twentieth-century critiques of everyday life (Fefebvre, Debord)to recent feminist studies and from the Annales school andNorbert Elias to German Alltagsgeschichte. In the secondpart of the course, we will look at different aspects of theeveryday in the early PRC (and, for comparative reasons, the SovietUnion), including work routines, leisure and play, domestic lifeand consumption, and everyday strategies of coping with politicaland economic change. Rather than trying to conceptualize“modernity” through everyday life, as much recent work hasdone, we will focus on the concrete, the experiential, and themundane. Readings will be in English and Chinese, and students areencouraged to use primary sources for theiressays.
Format andevaluation: Regular and active participation is expected. Your maintask in this course is to write a research paper on aspects ofeveryday life in socialist China, using primary sources in Chinese.Alternative assignments can be found for students without knowledgeof modern Chinese. In weeks 4 or 5, you will present a sourcetext and a short outline of your project in class. Inweeks 7 or 8, you will present a five-page fragment of yourresearch project. Evaluation: 20% attendance and participation, 20%source presentation, 20% fragment presentation, 40% researchpaper.
Requiredreadings: Madeleine Yue Dong and Joshua Goldstein, EverydayModernity in China, University of Washington Press, 2006, andCHALK postings.
Week 1:Introduction: What is Everyday Life?
• GeorgesPerec, “Approaches to What?” in Ben Highmore, The EverydayLife Reader, pp. 176-78.
• GuyDebord, “Perspectives for conscious alterations in everydaylife” Ben Highmore, The Everyday Life Reader,237-245.
• MassObservation: letters by Charles Madge and Humphrey Jennings; fouranonymous Mass Observation Reports, in Ben Highmore, TheEveryday Life Reader, pp. 145-52.
• NorbertElias, “The Rise of the Fork” in J. Goudsblom and S. Mennell,eds. The Norbert Elias Reader, pp 51-54.
• NorbertElias: “On the concept of everyday life,” in J. Goudsblom andS. Mennell, eds. The Norbert Elias Reader, pp.166-74.
• Michel deCerteau: The Practice of Everyday Life”, generalintroduction, pp. xi-xxiv.
• MichaelE. Gardiner, Critiques of Everyday Life, Routledge 2000,Chapter Four: Henri Lefebvre: philosopher of the ordinary, pp.71-101.
• HenriFefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life, vol. 3, Verso 2005,Introduction, pp. 1-42.
Additionalreadings: Michael E. Gardiner, Critiques of Everyday Life,Routledge 2000;
John Roberts,Philosophizing the Everyday, Pluto Press 2006; Agnes Heller,Everyday
Life,Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984; Doris Smith, The Everyday asProblematic,
MiltonKeynes, 1987; Tony Bennett and Diane Watson, UnderstandingEveryday Life,
Blackwell2002; Henri Lefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life (threevols), Verso 2005.
• FernandBraudel: The structures of everyday life (vol. 1 ofCivilization and Capitalism, 15th to 18th Century), chapter3, “Food and Drink.”
• LuHanchao: “Out of the Ordinary: Implications of Material Cultureand Daily Life in China,” in Joshua Goldstein and Madeleine YueDong, eds., Everyday Modernity in China, pp.22-51.
• AlfLüdtke: “The Historiography of Everyday Life”, in RaphaelSamuel and Gareth Stedman Jones, eds., Culture, Ideology, andPolitics.
• HarryHarootunian, Overcome by Modernity: History, Culture, andCommunity in Interwar Japan, Princeton 2000, chapter 3, pp.95-101.
AdditionalReadings: Joshua Goldstein and Madeleine Yue Dong, EverydayModernity in China, University of Washington Press, 2006; YehWen-hsin: “Corporate Space, Communal Time: Everyday Life inShanghai’s Bank of China, The American Historical Review.100.1, 1995;
• KendallBailes, “Alexei Gastev and the Soviet Controversy overTaylorism,” Soviet Studies, 29:3 (July 1977),373-394
• MiklosHaraszti, A worker in a workers’ state, selectedchapters.
• CuiZhiyuan 崔之元, “Anshanxianfa he hou Futezhuyi” 鞍钢宪法与后福特主义(The Angang constitution andpost-Fordism)
• MichaelB. Frolic: Mao’s People, chapters 4, “A foot of mud anda pile of shit”, chapter 13, “Theapprentice”.
AdditionalReadings: Lida Junghans, “Industrial Involution: recruitment anddevelopment within the railway system,” in Eyferth, ed., HowChina Works, Routledge 2006; Stephen Kotkin: MagneticMountain: Stalinism as a Civilization, Universityof
CaliforniaPress 1995, chapters 1-2.
• RitaFelski, “The Invention of Everyday Life,” NewFormations, no. 39 (Winter 1999-2000), pp.13-31.
• SheilaFitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in ExtraordinaryTimes, Introduction, chapters 2 and 3.
• JoshuaGoldstein, “The Remains of the Everyday: On
• XueYanwen 薛炎文: PiaozhengJiushi 票证旧事 (Oldstories on Rationing Coupons).
AdditionalReadings: Yan Hairong, “Rurality and Labor Process Autonomy: TheQuestion of Subsumption in the Waged Labor of Domestic Service,”Cultural Dynamics vol. 18, no 5 (March 2006) (on domesticservants under Maoism and today); Wang Anyi, Fuping（novel on baomu in theShanghai of the 1950s）, JeanC. Robinson, “Of Women and Washing Machines: Employment,Housework, and the Reproduction of Motherhood in Socialist China,China Quarterly, no. 101 (March 1985); Emily Honig and GailHershatter, Personal Voices: Chinese Women in the1980s.
• LeonTrotsky, Problems of Life (also translated as Problems ofEveryday Life), London: Methuen and Co., 1924, ch. 2, “Habitand Custom,” ch. 3, “Vodka, Church, andCinema.”
• WangShaoguang: "The Politics of Private Time: Changing Leisure Patternsin Urban China”, in Davis et al. eds., Urban Spaces inContemporary China.
• Tina MaiChen, “Internationalism and Cultural Experience: Soviet Films andPopular Chinese Understandings of the Future in the 1950s.”Cultural Critique 58 (Fall 2004): 82-114.
• StephenConnors: “Rough Magic: Bags,” in Ben Highmore, The EverydayLife Reader, pp. 347-351.
• BorisArvatov, “Everyday Life and the Culture of the Thing,”October, vol. 81 (Summer 1997).
• FrankDikotter, Exotic Commodities: Modern Objects and EverydayLife, Columbia University Press 2006,Introduction.
• WuXiujie, “Men Purchase, Women Use.” (DraftArticle).
• GuoYuhua 郭于华: “Xinling dejitihua: Shaanbei Jibeicun nongye hezuohua denuxing jiyi”心灵的集体化：陕北骥村农业合作化的女性记忆
(Collectivization of the soul: women’s memoriesof cooperativization in Jibei village, Shaanxi)
• GailHershatter: “Birthing Stories: Rural Midwives in 1950s China,”in Jeremy Brown and Paul Pickowicz, eds., Dilemmas of Victory:The Early Years of the People’s Republic ofChina.
• NataliaKozlova, “The Diary as Initiation and Rebirth: Reading EverydayDocuments of the Early Soviet Era,” in Christina Kiaer and EricNaiman, eds., Everyday Life in Early Soviet Russia: Taking theRevolution Inside, pp. 282-292.
• Liu Xin:“Remember to forget: critique of a critical case study,” inHistoriography East and West, 2:1 (2004)
• GailHershatter: “The Gender of Memory: Rural Chinese Women and the1950s”
• SelectedChinese diaries.
Week 10: WrapUp