1989 Tiananmen Square: A Proto-History

Karman Miguel Lucero

1989 Tiananmen Square: A Proto-History
Lucero, Karman Miguel
Thesis Advisor(s):
Ngai, Mae
B.A., Columbia University
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It is a commonly held belief that Chinese history is ancient, and, in fact, is one of the longest histories of any present-day nation. What exactly does this mean? One aspect of Chinese history that could explain this phenomenon is that two thousand years ago, China was still China. It has an unbroken, magnificent history spanning several millennia. This could be due to China‘s rich literary history or that many invaders adopted Chinese culture and political structure. Regardless of the reason for China‘s incredible cultural staying power, the fact that China‘s history can be deemed as ‗long‘ or ‗longer‘ demonstrates the importance of history when discussing China and that history itself is not dependent on time alone, but is also a philosophical imposition. In other words, history is constructed, it is an analytical interpretation that creates and defines personal, political, cultural, and intellectual significance. In this regard, China‘s history is epic. It is interesting to note, however, that such a grandiose history excludes particular events. While studying abroad in China in 2010, I wanted to write a history of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, but found myself unable to do so. In China today, there is no official record of the events, not even an official recognition that they took place. The subject is forbidden. If any archive exists, it is not available to scholars or the public. How does one write a history of something that is forbidden and for which there is no archive? This paper is an attempt to do just that, to seek a historical discourse from the knowledge fragments and memories that linger in the face of suppression.
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Suggested Citation:
Karman Miguel Lucero, , 1989 Tiananmen Square: A Proto-History, Columbia University Academic Commons, .

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