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Mao Zedong ascended to a position within the CCP unparalleled before or since in part due to his ability to control the narration of history by creating and spreading a master narrative of history. Mao’s master narrative of history was the retelling of Chinese history by Mao that provided the foundation for Mao Zedong Thought and legitimised his power and policies. My thesis follows the creation, rise to prominence and ongoing revisions made to Mao Zedong’s master narrative of Chinese history by examining the narratives of one important event in Mao’s master narrative: the 1911 Revolution. I focus on the period of Mao’s leadership over the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) between 1935 and 1976 to understand how Mao’s master narrative evolved over time during his control over the CCP.
Mao built his narrative of the 1911 Revolution on four themes; the United Front, the periodisation of history, class analysis and the unique nature of China. Each of these themes represent an aspect of Mao Zedong Thought. The relative prominence of these themes in the historiography of the 1911 Revolution across the course of Mao’s life show the changing foundation of Mao’s legitimacy, the changing focus of his policies and the changing nature of Mao Zedong Thought.
About the speaker: Bryce Kositz is a Ph.D. candidate at ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, School of Culture, History and Language. He is an IPRS scholar, AFHEA and the pentalty minutes leader on the Canberra Ice Bears ice hockey team.