History Department
History Department

Jing Zhai


MA History, Nankai University, Tianjin, China

PhD Candidate
Jing Zhai

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Interests


History of Modern and Contemporary China, Comparative Communism, History of Gender and Sexuality, History of Childhood

Biography


Jing Zhai is a PhD candidate in the history department at UT Austin, where she also serves as the 2018-2019 co-coordinator for Symposium on Gender, History, and Sexuality. Her research focuses on the provincialization of socialist culture in China from a grassroots perspective. Zhai’s dissertation Experiencing the Commune: Everyday Life in Rural China under Socialism (1956-1984)investigates the constant effort from the Chinese Communist Party to transform meaningless daily affairs into meaningful public agendas. Zhai maintains that everyday experiences became a cord tying individual peasants dispersed in different communes directly to high politics and abstract communist ideology, transforming the least politicized region into a hyperpolitical entity. Her work “Childhood under Collectivism: A Study of Rural Kindergartens during the Great Leap Forward Period,” was recently published in Journal of Chinese Women’s Studies (March 2017, No. 140), a leading academic journal on women’s studies in China. It is the first serious effort to systematically examine the history of kindergarten education in rural China during the Maoist era.

 

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