Urmas Pappel (University of Tartu, Estonia) “Effects of Memory Politics on Chinese Youths: Patriotism and Confusion”

Abstract:

This paper problematises the relationship between interpretations of politically sensitive historical information and patriotic sentiment. The conventional approach to China’s memory politics describes a state-created official history narrative and the associated propaganda apparatus tasked to disseminate it. This paper shows that such an approach to China’s collective memory is partial because it does not take into account the reception of the official history narrative and the process of understanding historical events which are omitted from the official discourse. I will be outlining some strategies the Chinese youths use to deal with politically charged historical information, including (a) ignoring politically charged historical information due to social taboo, (b) ignoring politically charged historical information to maintain patriotic sentiment, and (c) ignoring politically charged historical information due to confusion. The paper draws on open-ended interviews with Chinese students and young people conducted in China in 2013 and 2015.

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