Activism in Bloom: Campus Dissent in 1957 and China’s Century of Student Protests
Yidi Wu

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Elon University

Primary Discipline

My book Activism in Bloom reveals an understudied episode of student activism during the political campaigns of 1950s’ China, a decade which was presumably dominated by Communist political campaigns, thus leaving little space for social dissent. The book demonstrates that student activism in 1950s’ China is crucial to understanding past and future generations of activists from the 1919 May Fourth Movement to the Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution of 1966, the 1989 Tiananmen Protests, as well as more recent social unrest in Hong Kong. Chinese students in 1957 carried out and passed on similar repertoires and framing techniques as during other episodes of student activism. What made this period distinctive was the ambiguous political opportunity and divisions among students that consumed the brief yet intense activism.
About Yidi Wu
Yidi Wu is an Assistant Professor of History in the Department of History and Geography at Elon University, where she uses historical role-playing games and contract grading in her teaching. Her research focuses on Chinese student activism and history of higher education in the twentieth century. Using declassified documents, student journals and memoirs, digital database, and oral history interviews, her book examines university students’ participation in the Hundred Flowers and the Anti-Rightist Campaigns of 1957, and its comparisons with other episodes of student activism from 1919 to 1989. She has published in Twentieth-Century China and Index on Censorship, and she serves as the book review editor for PRC History Review. Her research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, Association for Asian Studies, and National Academy of Education / Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. Originally from Beijing, she received her B.A. in History from Oberlin College, and her Ph.D. in History from University of California, Irvine.

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