Laurence Coderre

Dissertation Fellow
Photo of L Coderre

In her dissertation project, “Consuming Revolution: Yangbanxi as Material Culture of the Chinese Cultural Revolution,” Laurence Coderre (East Asian Languages and Cultures) examines how the circulation and exchange of quotidian objects during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) prefigured contemporary postsocialist market commodification. She argues that, despite the standard historical narrative to the contrary, the commodity consumption with which the Chinese postsocialist period is so closely associated did not emerge out of a vacuum. Rather, it was anticipated by the promotion of the yangbanxi (“model performances”), originally a repertoire of eight operatic, balletic, and symphonic works, using objects spanning every conceivable form, from mirrors to comic books to biscuit tins. Coderre focuses on the varied expressions of this promotion of the yangbanxi, such as ceramic knickknacks, amateur performances, and recorded sound technologies. She argues that each instantiation invoked different modes of consumption that produced Cultural Revolution constructions of time, the body, and space.