« Back to all events

The Revolution of a Little Hero: The Sanmao Comic Strips and the Politics of Childhood in China, 1935-1962

Dates:
  • Mon 07 Jul 2014 11.00 - 13.00
  Add to Calendar 2014-07-07 11:00 2014-07-07 13:00 Europe/Paris The Revolution of a Little Hero: The Sanmao Comic Strips and the Politics of Childhood in China, 1935-1962

This thesis analyses the production, content and development of cartoonist Zhang Lepingʼs Sanmao comic strips between 1935 and 1962 in the context of the growing political and cultural significance of childhood in twentieth century China. After years of wars and dramatic political changes, Sanmao is still a recognizable visual icon in China today, and his lasting popularity makes him an interesting case-study for understanding the development of cartoon art and the political deployment of the image of the ʼchildʼ in China over the twentieth century. This thesis investigates two main problems: firstly, it aims to analyze how through his strips Zhang Leping intervened in contemporary debates about the significance and role of children in the development of the Chinese nation; secondly, it follows the transformation of fictional child-hero Sanmao from a commentator on contemporary China in the early 1930s into a sustainer of the Chinese Communist Party after 1949. While Zhang Lepingʼs comic strips have often been considered as a product of political graphic production or as reading material for children, this thesis analyzes the content of Sanmao strips employing childhood as an analytical category in order to understand the role of children in the political and social discourses which took place in China during war and revolution. By analyzing the production of Sanmao comic strips, their relevance in the political context in which they appeared, and the factors which propelled the popularity of the little hero before and after 1949, this thesis shows how the image of Sanmao has changed over time, and how it was ultimately appropriated and reshaped by the CCP in order to fit the partyʼs official vision of history and educational aims.


Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA

This thesis analyses the production, content and development of cartoonist Zhang Lepingʼs Sanmao comic strips between 1935 and 1962 in the context of the growing political and cultural significance of childhood in twentieth century China. After years of wars and dramatic political changes, Sanmao is still a recognizable visual icon in China today, and his lasting popularity makes him an interesting case-study for understanding the development of cartoon art and the political deployment of the image of the ʼchildʼ in China over the twentieth century. This thesis investigates two main problems: firstly, it aims to analyze how through his strips Zhang Leping intervened in contemporary debates about the significance and role of children in the development of the Chinese nation; secondly, it follows the transformation of fictional child-hero Sanmao from a commentator on contemporary China in the early 1930s into a sustainer of the Chinese Communist Party after 1949. While Zhang Lepingʼs comic strips have often been considered as a product of political graphic production or as reading material for children, this thesis analyzes the content of Sanmao strips employing childhood as an analytical category in order to understand the role of children in the political and social discourses which took place in China during war and revolution. By analyzing the production of Sanmao comic strips, their relevance in the political context in which they appeared, and the factors which propelled the popularity of the little hero before and after 1949, this thesis shows how the image of Sanmao has changed over time, and how it was ultimately appropriated and reshaped by the CCP in order to fit the partyʼs official vision of history and educational aims.



Location:
Sala Triaria, Villa Schifanoia - SCHIFANOIA

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Contact:
Kathy Wolf Fabiani - Send a mail

Supervisor:
Prof. Stephen Anthony Smith

Examiner:
Prof. Dirk Moses
Professor Harriet Evans (University of Westminster)
Professor Barbara Mittler (University of Heidelberg)

Defendant:
Laura Pozzi (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
 

Page last updated on 18 August 2017