Two “A United Front Against Superstition”: Science Dissemination, 1940–1971

Sigrid Schmalzer

in The People's Peking Man

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780226738598
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226738611 | DOI:
Two “A United Front Against Superstition”: Science Dissemination, 1940–1971

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This chapter focuses on the efforts to instill in the Chinese people a scientific worldview. Scientific and political elites sought to liberate the population from the shackles of superstition and create a strong country founded on science. The project of science dissemination was, however, framed in an antagonistic way: engagement in a battle against superstition incurred certain consequences. In attacking religious forms of knowledge, scientists helped strengthen the authoritarian character of the state ideology, thus indirectly contributing to their own persecution. At the same time, efforts to expose and annihilate monsters ironically increased their visibility and even their legitimacy as subjects of inquiry in official scientific discourse.

Keywords: scientific worldview; scientists; superstition; state ideology; authoritarianism

Chapter.  13965 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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