Chapter

“Springtime for Science,” but What a Garden: Mystery, Superstition, and Fanatics in the Post-Máo Era

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226738611.003.0007
“Springtime for Science,” but What a Garden: Mystery, Superstition, and Fanatics in the Post-Máo Era

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This chapter focuses on the so-called “springtime for science”—the decades since the death of Máo and the end of the Cultural Revolution. As in Máo's China, officials in the post-Máo era found the proliferation of new voices and new ideas difficult to manage, and once again, many scientists and other intellectuals are firmly on their side. The introduction of market forces, collapse of barriers to foreign influences, encouragement of regional diversity, acknowledgment of “undefined phenomena,” and challenges to scientific authoritarianism have together created the right conditions for the spread of ideas that many political and intellectual elites consider superstitious and downright dangerous. But neither do these elites advocate a return to the restrictions of earlier decades.

Keywords: mass science; post-Máo era; scientists; reform

Chapter.  15136 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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