Lifestyle

William H. Hinton (1919-2004)

Description
obit and encomium for William Hinton, arguably the most important English language writer on China from the 1940s through the early 1990s. A great writer, American, internationalist who wrote "Fanshen" and "Shenfan," vivid and
Categories
Published
of 6
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
Share
Transcript
  Social Scientist William H. Hinton (1919-2004)Author(s): Daniel VukovichSource: Social Scientist, Vol. 32, No. 7/8 (Jul. - Aug., 2004), pp. 93-97Published by: Social ScientistStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3518265 Accessed: 02/07/2010 02:28 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=socialscien.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Social Scientist  is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Social Scientist. http://www.jstor.org  Obituary WilliamH. Hinton(1919 -2004) (WilliamHinton,known as"HanDing"to thepeopleofChinawhom helovedand served fordecades,died on May 15'' 2004.Hisname willalwaysbe associated withrevolutionary,MaoistChina,fromtheperiodofwarand land reformtothevariousupheavalsofthesubsequentdecades,andwiththepeopleofLongBowvillage(nearCh.angzhi)nparticular.He visited China as ateenager,butafterreadingEdgarSnow's Red Star Over China andstudyingMarxism inaconscientious-objector'slaborcampinNewHampshirein1943,andespeciallyinfluencedbyhisoldersisterJean,hejoinedthearmyandreturned to Chinain1945withtheOffice ofWarInformation.Afterwitnessingthe war andmeetingMao andZhouEnlai for thefirsttime,Hinton returnedhome,organizeda farmers'union in1946,and went back toChinain1947,working througha U. N.projectas atractor instructor andtechnician.Assignedto atypicallycorruptKMT(Nationalist)district,he volunteeredtoservein aliberated zoneandfirstexperiencedthegrassrootsparticipationandmassline ofthecommunist movement.In1948 Hintonjoinedthe land reform teaminLongBow,theretoworkinthefields,attendmeetings,andtakethe notesthat wouldeventuallyform the classic Fanshen("toturnover"),one of thegreattexts of the 20"'Century,now inprintforfourdecades.En route home in1953attheheightof theColdWar,longafter hispassporthadexpired,HintonfacedinterrogationbyintelligenceinPragueandLondon,where heate his Chineseexit-visa tokeepit frombeingseized andforged.Once backin theU.S.hispassportandthe1,000pagesof noteshehadcarriedon hisbackformiles. n China(whilefleeingaKMTbombingraid)were seized.Calledbefore theU.S.Senate's notorious Eastman Committee(on"nationalsecurity"),heacquittedhimselfbrilliantly,standingonthe 5th Amendment andrefusingtotestifyagainsthimself oranyoneelse.Blacklisted fromallotheremployment,Hintonfarmedaplotoffamilyland inPennsylvania.Afteryearsoflegalbattles,Hintongothis notes back andfinishedFanshen n1966.Despiterave reviews of themanuscript,allmajor publishersrefused thebook(afateto which his most recentmanuscript-ThroughA GlassDarkly:AmericanViewsofthe Chinese93  SocialScientist OD111- Revolutionhasreturned).ItthusfelltoMonthlyReviewPressand PaulSweezytopublishwhatquicklybecameand remains theclassic,bottom-upandethnographicaccount of theChineseRevolution anditstortuousbutradicallydemocraticand undeniableachievements,as well itsprofoundmeaningto the"Old HundredNames"ofChina,i.e.,to the"ordinary"people.Hintonreturnedto China andLongBowin1971(afterFanshenhad c0 beentranslatedandpublishedinChina),whereheagainworked within and Ct3 studied the enormouschangesinChina'shalting,zigzaggingbutdynamiczsocialistconstructionin thecountryside.Subsequentworks tocomeout ofthisand lateryearsinChinainclude IronOxen("abookabouttractorsandtheChineseRevolution"),Shenfan(or"deepplowing,"thefollow-uptoFanshen),HundredDayWar:TheCulturalRevolutionatTsinghuaUniversity,TheGreatReversal:ThePrivatizationofChina,1978-89,andalso theeditingandafterwardorQinHuailu's NinthHeavento NinthHell:TheHistoryofaNobleChineseExperiment,agripping,smuggled-out-ofChina text onthetop-down,stronglyresisted andunjustdestructionofDazhai(thefamous"modelcommune"),and of thereputationand careerofitsproletarianleader,ChenYonggui.As befitsa Marxistwhowitnessedandsomemorablyrecorded theMaoistyears,Hintoneventuallybecamehighlycriticalofthereform erainChina,notjustthe de-collectivizationandcommodification of thecountrysidebutalso the criminalkillingsof workersandothersinTiananmen,1989byDeng Xiaopingwho,asHintonpointedout,helpedturntheanti-rightistcampaignsofthe50sintoawitch-hunt,not forthetinyfractionofreactionariesMao believed existedinChina,but for500,000people.Hintonspenthis lastyearsinMongolia,againteachingthe doctrineof no-tillfarmingandsustainableagriculture.Hislife wasobviously indescribablyrich,unforgettableeven to thoseofuswhoonlyknew ofitthroughhiswritings.Itcallstomindsuchlegendary,Anglo-AmericanfiguresasJohn Reed,AgnesSmedley,NormanBethune,AnnaLouiseStrong,or indeed his sisterJoan,a nuclearphysicistwhoworked on theManhattanProject,then to abandonthatfora life's workinChina andthepursuitof socialism. ButHinton also leaves uswith aninvaluable,meticulouslydetailed andanalyticallypowerful bodyofwriting,acorpusthatpreciselyin itsdetail,in the livesof those whom he observedandworkedwith,andin hissynthesesofall this withthehistorical,contextualforcesatwork inChinesesocietyandtheworld,isoneof if notthesinglebestaccountsandimageswe haveofrevolutionaryandpost-49China,fromthegrass-rootsandvillageleveluptothetoplevel of state andPartyeadershipandconflict,and back downagain.(Afavoritetechniqueofhiswas tobeginchapterswithdoctrinalorlarge-scaleepigraphsandto  Obituary followthem with themessy,vividlyrenderedactivitiesat aneveryday, U ground-level.)~.Indeed,what one canmissin hisrivetingnarrativesarehistheoreticalcontributions,toMarxisttheoryand historicalmaterialism(orthedialecticcof historicalnecessityand massagency),totheethnographyoftheeveryday,0tothecomplexitiesofpower,desire,socialjusticeandculturalchange.Asa'powerfulhistory'of these50-plusyearsthat showswhatthe revolutionanditspeopleachieved,despiteenormousdifficulties,set-backsandtragedies,hisworkwill servefuturegenerationsinsideChina andout,and toallwhohave an interestinwhathappenedin Chinaand whatitmeant,andwho arenotbuffaloedbythe cult ofexpertisein thestultifying,oftreactionaryandorientalistdomainsof ChinaStudies.Perhaps,then,Hintonis bestrememberedas ateacher,a humblebutnoblerole that isalso howhe andJoanalwaysdescribedMaohimself.Indeed,andnotwithstandingthetriumphalisticdemonizationofhistoricalcommunismand Maoisminparticularwithin ChinaStudies andtheworld,Hintonhasalreadyblazedapathofcritical,Marxistinquiryin Chinastudies,as can beseen in thework of historiansofChinalike MauriceMeisnerandJackGray,and moreoverin therecent,powerfulwork ofRobertWeil(RedCat,White Cat:Chinaand the Contradictionsf"MarketSocialism"),HanDongping(TheUnknownCulturalRevolution:EducationalReformsand TheirImpactonChina's RuralDevelopment)andMoboGao(GaoVillage:A PortraitofRuralLifen ModernChina).HanandGao,as wellasWeil,writethetypeofhistorically-rooted,hicklydescribed,and Marxian"participant-observer"ccountsthatHintonpioneeredin ChinaStudies,andtheylikewisesharehisfine-tunedanalysisof classand of theactuallyexisting,mass-movement-basedachievementsof theMaoyearsandcollectivization-ineducation,health,and economicgrowthwithinanegalitarianproject-andofthelivesofthepeoplewho livedthroughthesetumultuousyears.Hinton'stextsandmethodologywill remainimportantformorespecificreasonsaswell.Whilefullyawareofthepartisanshipofobjectivity,he wasalwayscriticalof notjustthebourgeoisie,the bureaucratic-eliteandtheLiu-Denglineor"capitalistroad,"butalso attimes oftheMaoistleadershipandpolicies.Hencehisdetailedattentionto the toofrequent,senselessviolenceandmisguidedfactionalismthatderailedtheCulturalRevolution,to Mao'sinabilityto dealeffectivelywithleftexcessesin theseandpreviousyears,andtotheproblemof"gigantism"ndexcessive"winds"that transformedtheeminentlyrationalandmass-democratic-andeventuallycorrected,effective-directivesandgoalsof theLeapyears.Hiswork wasanti-romanticbutpassionate,hard-boiledyetnuancedto95  SocialScientist CDO>- thecore.So,tooHinton often wroteself-critically,aswhenheretrospectivelynotes howhisnationallytelevised talksonlabor-productivitywerebeingusedtodiscredit Dazhaiand the model ofco-operativeagriculturehe socogentlyexpounded,or when hecritiqueshis ownpost-Fanshenworkfor a certain naivete in its insufficientemphasisonthe class-P.,and two-linestruggles,andthesocio-historicallimitstoandpressuresupon~00socialistdevelopmentthatwerein factrightthere at theverybeginningof V/3 the land reform andpost-49movements.Thushecame toregret Shenfan's"zmisreadingoftheinfamous LushanPlenum(1959),where theMao-Peng poe Dehuai conflictwas notsimplyoneofpersonalityandpolicyspecifics,butone overtheverydirection and visionof China's socialistdevelopment,i.e.,whetherit wouldpursueitsown,uniqueroad or that of bureaucraticcapitalism.ForHinton,preciselybecause hewas sodeeplyrooted intheworld-historicturningoveranddiggingdeepofthelongChineserevolution,thecontext,strugglesandaspirationsof thepeople,neverabandoned a leftistand "Maoist"perspective(Ineverknew him toadoptthisidentity-labelhimself)onhisownwork oronChina,muchtothedismayof mostSinologistsand former radicals withinChina Studies. Whatexplainsthisconsistentrefusal,orratheraffirmation,is much less some aprioriideologicalpositionthan Hinton'sdeeplyhistorical,profoundunderstandingof what hehadactuallyseen.Thus when he noted that at thestartof the "reforms"nly30percentofvillagecommunes weredoingwell(i.e.,about240 millionpeople),40percentstableorshowing potentialbutplagued byproblems,and 30percent stagnating,herefusedto see this asgroundsforabandoningegalitarianism,collectivefarmingandthethreetieredteam-brigade-commune system.He instead sawthisratio asanextraordinaryachievement,andgroundsonlyforcorrectingor,wherenecessary,foradoptingtheco-operative, "publicfirst,selfsecond" mode ofdevelopment.And not least because-ashiswork and that ofHan'sandMobo'shas shown-de-collectivizationwas notinfact a "choice" of themajorityhemselves,ustasmanyinLongBowandDazhai,inGaovillage,inXiyangandJimocounties,and aroundBeijing,TianjinandShenyang,etc.wanted to retain theco-operativemode,andjustastodayworkersandpeasantsstill revereMaoastheir own. Thisputatively"extreme"assessmentin fact flowedoutofaprofoundsense oftheintractableandalmostunrepresentabledifficulties andcomplexitiesofachievinganalternative,egalitariansocialist orderandmodernity,bothingeneralterms and withinthecontext of China aboveall. LikeMao,Hintoncameto see-mostfullyintheprefaceto theChineseedition ofShenfanandinhis lastessays-that"thecapitalistroad,"whetherin the form ofthe"Stalinist,"Sovietizedform96
Search
Tags
Related Search
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks
SAVE OUR EARTH

We need your sign to support Project to invent "SMART AND CONTROLLABLE REFLECTIVE BALLOONS" to cover the Sun and Save Our Earth.

More details...

Sign Now!

We are very appreciated for your Prompt Action!

x