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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Rural China has gone through dramatic transformation from the Mao era to the post-Mao era. China scholars have been studying the institutional changes closely in the past few decades. However, Chinese peasants’ living experience and their memory and understanding of the past have not yet received enough attention and discussion. By examining personal writings of a peasant named Luo Xuechang in Jiande, Zhejiang province, this paper discusses the complex interactions between the state and the individual. This paper attempts to unfold the juxtaposition of state narratives and personal narratives embedded in Luo’s unpublished memoir, almanacs from 1972 to 1980, notebooks and other personal writings. By focusing on Luo’s writings on his family life, education, work and political perspectives, this paper reveals how Luo altered his personal narratives over time and how Luo carefully conformed with and digressed from state-produced national narratives to make sense of his own history.


First Advisor

Sigrid Schmalzer

Second Advisor

John Higginson

Included in

Asian History Commons