Donald Santacaterina’s book project is titled “Making the Paper Come Alive: ‘Mass’ Media and Print Socialism in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1966.”
This project explores socialist identity formation processes, asking how Chinese-socialist identities managed to burn so passionately and endure so stubbornly across the second half of the 20th century – beyond the death of Mao Zedong and the advent of market reforms. Using media cultures as a starting point, it deploys grassroots sources and long overlooked newspaper cultures to argue that socialism was only made “real” for socialist consumers through constant media polemics, praise, and conversation. This process – which the project coins “print socialism” – made abstract socialist ideology into lived reality for all involved, whether passionate socialist, disillusioned rightist, or aloof bystander.
Analyzed content includes small market newspapers from China’s Anhui province, “how to” booklets marketed to amaeteur newspaper journalists, editorial handbooks published for small market newspapers’ editorial teams, and myriad other sources gathered through archival, digital, and “garbogical” means.
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