China's First National Critique: The 1954 Campaign to “Discuss the Draft Constitution”

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Talk by Neil Diamant, Dickinson College

Thursday, January 15, 2015
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Bunche Hall 10383

In 1954, as part of the “National Discussion of the Draft Constitution,” Chinese engaged in a surprisingly wide-ranging deliberation about political and social rights, the obligations of citizenship, state symbols, political institutions and ideology. Many asked frank, penetrating and frequently prescient questions about law, class, and political power, and offered provocative suggestions for revision. This talk will delve into the content of this constitutional discussion and examine its implications for the historiography of the PRC and the way we understand Chinese constitutionalism.

Neil J. Diamant is Professor of Asian Law and Society at Dickinson College and Chair of the East Asian Studies Department. He is author of Revolutionizing the Family: Politics, Love, and Divorce in Urban and Rural China, 1949-1968 (2000), Engaging the Law in China: State, Society and Possibilities for Justice (2005) and Embattled Glory: Veterans, Military Families and the Politics of Patriotism in China, 1949-2007 (2009). Before joining the Dickinson faculty in 2002, he taught at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

His articles on various aspects of Chinese law and society have appeared in The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Modern China, The Journal of East Asian Studies, Politics and Society, Armed Forces and Society, Frontiers of History in China, The Law and Society Review and The China Quarterly, among others. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Berkeley. He is currently working on popular constitutionalism in the Mao era and political activism among PLA veterans (including lawsuits, petitions, mass protests and online blogging).

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Published: Thursday, January 15, 2015