Preserving collective and individual memories: Developing a Database of Primary Sources from the Mao Era
From 1949 to 1982, Chinese society was buffeted by political upheavals from the "the Great Leap Forward" and the "Cultural Revolution." China was in tumult and the PRC was all but closed. Zhang Letian, a Fudan University professor, and his team collected information on life at the grassroots level, mostly from Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and Shanghai, including documents from local government offices and work units. The archive, stretching for a time span of ten years or more, provides detailed information on economic, political, social and cultural changes from 1949 to 1980s. The archive's unique collection of private correspondence, personal diaries, and work logs is also enormously valuable to our understanding of contemporary Chinese society.