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The People's Peking Man – Popular Science and Human Identity in Twentieth-Century China - Chicago Scholarship Online
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The People's Peking Man: Popular Science and Human Identity in Twentieth-Century China

Sigrid Schmalzer


In the 1920s an international team of scientists and miners unearthed the richest evidence of human evolution the world had ever seen—Peking Man—which, after the communist revolution of 1949, became a prominent figure in the movement to bring science to the people. In a new state with the twin goals of crushing “superstition” and establishing a socialist society, the story of human evolution was the first lesson in Marxist philosophy offered to the masses. At the same time, even Mao's populist commitment to mass participation in science failed to account for the power of popular culture—repres ... More

Keywords: Peking Man, China, palaeoanthropology, human evolution, Marxist philosophy, popular science, human identity, socialist society, history of science, Chinese history

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780226738598
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226738611.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sigrid Schmalzer, author