Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2012

Access Restrictions


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Vlastos, Stephen G

Second Advisor

Arkush, R David

First Committee Member

Tang, Wenfang

Second Committee Member

Chen, Shuang

Third Committee Member

Park, Alyssa


My dissertation "Mao's Agrarian Reforms: The Socialist Rural Transformation in an East China County, 1946-1965" focuses on the 1949 communist revolution and its impact on Chinese society. In particular, it examines a series of key stages of the socialist rural transformation from 1946-1965 in Baoying County, an area near Shanghai comprising over 1,000 villages and a population of nearly 500,000. The dissertation starts with the study of the land reform movement from 1946-1952, which introduced class struggle for the first time to the villagers of Northern Jiangsu Province, where Baoying County was located. Next it examines the agricultural collectivization movement enforced by the state from 1952-1957, followed by a chapter on the Great Leap Forward Movement in 1958-59, which ended in a great famine. The dissertation concludes by exploring the accumulated tensions between farmers and the communist officials as exposed in the Socialist Education Movement, a political campaign later became the prelude to the Cultural Revolution. Unlike previous scholarship, which has mostly relied on interviews with a limited number of participants or officially published writings that have undergone severe censorship, my research is based on more than five thousand pages of unpublished documents culled from the county archives and inner-Party publications that I managed to collect during the past years. These primary sources enable me to explore in-depth issues that have been ignored or underdeveloped in the existing literature, such as the varied responses of farmers towards the socialist agrarian reforms and the widespread corruption among the grassroots officials, which was rooted in the practices of collectivism in agriculture. Furthermore, by viewing the process from the bottom up, I hope to provide a solid foundation of facts for reassessing the intricate relations among farmers, state officials and the Communist Party in late and post-revolutionary China.


xi, 249 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 234-249).


Copyright © 2012 Woyu Liu

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