The Mind of the New Socialist Student in the Chinese Revolutionary Imagination, 1949-1958
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Between 1949 and 1958, the nascent Peoples Republic of China witnessed a radical shift of knowledge about the human mind that transformed pedagogy. Against the Cold War and the changing Sino-Soviet relation, Chinese psychologists progressively repudiated American and Soviet schools for their shared deterministic philosophy and disinterest in human agency and class struggle. In light of this critique, educators abandoned psychological science as the basis of pedagogy and endeavored to create a supreme new socialist student to meet Chinas economic and political agendas. This dissertation explores this exteriorization epistemic transition by juxtaposing psychology and education. Taking advantage of so far untapped archival and published sources, this dissertation explores how psychologists, educators, and students navigated between a utopian communist dream and Chinas harsh socioeconomic reality in the creation of the new socialist student ideal. Chapter One Wrestling with Human Nature argues that the critique of psychology instantiated Chinas progressive ethos that, in the endeavor of transforming human mentality, rejected scientific discovery of mental laws. Chapter Two Laborizing Education argues that students faced excessive academic and labor tasks due to Chinas pursuit of post-war recovery, of success in Cold War competition, and of forestalling future labor-based class stratification. Chapter Three Engendering Citizenship scrutinizes how educators tapped into students subjectivity to produce a new citizenship identity capable of dismantling existing social relations.