Professor Brian DeMare specializes in modern Chinese history.
Research Interests: A cultural historian studying the Communist Party's great enterprise, Professor DeMare researches how Chinese citizens have negotiated with the politicization of their everyday lives. Mass campaigns, revolutionary art, and rural cultural workers are the primary concerns driving his research agenda. His new book Mao's Cultural Army: Drama Troupes in China's Rural Revolution, explores the political uses of cultural performance in the rise of the Chinese Communist Party and the early years of the People's Republic of China. He is currently writing and editing books on the epic land reform campaigns that shook the Chinese countryside during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Teaching Interests Professor DeMare offers a wide selection of courses on East Asian history. Survey courses cover the entirety of Chinese history, from Peking Man to the post-revolutionary era. Seminars allow students to delve into a variety of topics, including imperialism, gender, and empire.
Mao's Cultural Army: Drama Tropes in China's Rural Revolution
Charting their training, travels, and performances, this innovative
study explores the role of the artists that roamed the Chinese
countryside in support of Mao's communist revolution. DeMare traces the development of Mao's 'cultural army' from its genesis in Red Army propaganda teams to its full development as a largely civilian force composed of amateur and professional drama troupes in the early years of the PRC. Drawing from memoirs, artistic handbooks, and rare archival sources, Mao's Cultural Army uncovers the arduous and complex process of creating revolutionary dramas that would appeal to China's all-important rural audiences. The Communists strived for a disciplined cultural army to promote party policies, but audiences often shunned modern and didactic shows, and instead clamored for traditional works. DeMare illustrates how drama troupes, caught between the party and their audiences, did their best to resist the ever growing reach of the PRC state. This is the first book in the new Cambridge Studies in the History of the People's Republic of China series.