High Culture Fever: Politics, Aesthetics, and Ideology in Deng’s China

Jing Wang offers the first overview of the feverish decade of the 1980s in China, from early reexaminations of Maoism through the crackdown in Tiananmen Square. Wang’s energetic, creative, and highly intelligent take on Chinese culture provides a broad portrait of the post-revolutionary era and a provocative inquiry into the nature of Chinese modernity.

In seven linked essays, the author examines the cultural dynamics that have given rise to the epochal discourse. She traces the Chinese Marxists’ short debate over “socialist alienation” and examines the various schools of thought–Li Zehou and the Marxist Reconstruction of Confucianism, the neo-Confucian Revivalists, and the Enlightenment School–that came into play in the Culture Fever. She also critiques the controversial mini-series Yellow River Elegy. In mapping out China’s post-revolutionary aesthetics, Wang introduces the debate over “pseudo-modernism,” refutes the pseudo-proposition of “Chinese postmodernism,” and looks at the dawning of popular culture in the 1990s.
This book delivers a ten-year intertwined history of Chinese intellectuals, writers, literary critics, and cultural critics that gives us a deeper understanding of the China of the 1980s, the 1990s, and beyond.

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Jing Wang

About Jing Wang

Professor Jing Wang is the founder and director of New Media Action Lab and serves as the Chair of the International Advisory Board for Creative Commons China. She holds a joint appointment in Global Studies & Languages and Comparative Media Studies/Writing. Her first book The Story of Stone, a post-structuralist study on ‘intertextuality’ won her the Joseph Levenson Prize for the “Best Book on Pre-Modern China.” The books' Japanese language edition came out in 2015. Her third single-authored book Brand New China: Advertising, Media, and Commercial Culture came out in Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese translations. She is currently working on a book manuscript "The Other Digital China: ChangeMakers and Activism 2.0." Wang received fellowships awarded by the Radcliffe Institute for advanced Studies, National Humanities Center, and the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation. Her edited volume (with Winnie Wong) "Reconsidering the 2006 MIT Visualizing Cultures Controversy" won the Council of Editors of Learned Journal's "Best Special Issue Award" in 2015. She has also won the 2015 MIT Levitan Award. Wang has also been the recipient of a four-year grant awarded by the Henry Luce Foundation to initiate an international Chinese Popular Culture Studies Project. In spring 2009, she launched NGO 2.0, a social media literacy project for Chinese grassroots NGOs. The project is building cross-sector collaboration with foundations, universities, NGOs, the media sector, IT companies, the Corporate Social Responsibility sector, interface designers and software developers’ communities in China. Ford Foundation awarded her an eight-year grant (2009-2017) to develop NGO2.0. Wang also serves on the editorial and advisory boards for nine peer reviewed journals that cover a number of fields such as advertising, media and communication studies, Cultural Studies, and China Studies, among them are Global Media and Communication, Media Industries, and Positions: Asia Critique. A new book INTERNET PLUS PUBLIC GOOD: PLAYING WITH NEW MEDIA was published in 2016. Wang’s current research interests include advertising and marketing, civic media and communication, social media action research, popular culture, and nonprofit technology, with an area focus on the People’s Republic of China.