Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Lower Concourse, Grand Ballroom West

OFF-SITE | Mao Unplugged: The Chairman between War and Revolution

NOTE: This panel is being held at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada.

Mao Unplugged: The Chairman between War and Revolution

Mao Zedong continues to fascinate the world forty years after his death. The man who led China’s Communist Revolution and then presided over socialist construction complete with disasters of astounding proportions, who unleashed the violent radicalism of the Cultural Revolution, who embraced a short-lived alliance with the Soviet Union, pursued revolution in the “Third World,” and ultimately eased China’s way out of international isolation by turning to the United States, Mao has been the subject of numerous historical studies in China and in the West. But these studies have suffered from a well-known handicap: obstacles in the way of access to Chinese archives make it difficult to distinguish facts from myths, to cross-check sources, and to challenge prevailing narratives. To resolve the source gap and promote empirically-based research, the Cold War International History Project has assembled over 350 conversations held between Mao Zedong and foreign statesmen from 1949-1976. These conversations (intended for publication in 2018) recount – in Mao’s own words – the ups and downs of China’s revolution, the challenges of domestic and foreign policies, and China’s relationship with other great powers and its neighbors. This is Mao “unplugged”: the Chairman recounting China’s history as a first-hand narrative. The panel’s three presenters, Charles Kraus, Julia Lovell, and Sergey Radchenko, will assess Mao’s conversations, offering new insights into Mao’s way of thinking, including his hopes, fears, and delusions about his country’s and his own place in the world.

This panel will take place on Friday, March 17, from 5:15-7:15p.m, in the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Lower Concourse, Grand Ballroom West.




  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center


  • Sergey Radchenko

    Global Fellow
    Professor of International Relations, Cardiff University
  • Charles Kraus

    Senior Program Associate, History and Public Policy Program
  • Julia Lovell

    Reader in Modern Chinese History and Literature, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Chen Jian

    Global Fellow
    Global Distinguished Professor of History, NYU Shanghai