Episode 20: Weaponizing History

Images from Tibet and 50 years of resistance to China. Below: large crowd of women protestors standing before the Potala Palace, the Dalai Lama’s main residence, in 1959, to protest against Chinese rule. Hours later the Chinese attacked forcing the Dalai Lama to flee. Above: Protest graphic from the 2008-09 Tibetan resistance movement, which gained global attention during the 2008 Beijing summer Olympics.


It’s back to school time for the saucy boys as we spotlight a new school year, pandemic edition. Coronavirus politics seem to infect everything, including the school reopenings in Georgia, where craven meets crazy as admin and parents conspire to keep the masks off and the kids in the crowded classrooms. With infection rates up, it’s all part of the real time biology lab experiment known as Covid-19 American style. When the kids go to school and get infected, well the governing powers of the Georgia school districts say it’s all just hands-on learning. Speaking of power, as one of our HAG patron philosophers Michel Foucault reminds us, the writing of history itself is an act of power, and whether it is a power used to liberate or condemn depends on who is telling the story and for what purpose. Our special guest this week, China scholar and Carnegie Mellon University professor Benno Weiner, discusses communist China’s own machinations with history over the course of its decades long nation-building projects. What does it mean to be Chinese, and will the ethnic minorities who live in the borderlands of China’s vast geographical periphery, ever see themselves as genuine members of a Chinese nation? Do the governing authorities have a legitimate historical claim that they should? Or is it simply a matter to be decided by power? From Dallas, Georgia to Xinjiang, China – the HAG team keeps you socially distanced and globally connected.

This week’s music: Jay Reatard, “I’m Watching You”; Run the Jewels, “Talk to Me”; Protomartyr, “Modern Business Hymns”

To listen to Episode 20 Weaponizing History, click on the link below:


Carnegie Mellon University history professor, Dr. Benno Weiner.

Sources Referenced and items of Interest

Benno Weiner, The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier (2020)


For more on Benno Weiner’s The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier:


Check out Benno’s guest Blog post: “A ‘Magic Weapon’ on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier” on Visualizing China:


WEAI Author Q&A: Benno Weiner’s “The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier”

WEAI Author Q&A: Benno Weiner’s “The Chinese Revolution on the Tibetan Frontier”

Cornell University Press Authors’ Blogs w/Benno Weiner, “The Afterlives of Empire in Contemporary China.”


Historian Eric Foner on the Unresolved Legacy of Reconstruction (NPR Interview, June 5, 2020)


Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (updated ed., 2014)


“Hong Kong was not “returned” to China in 1997, as is often claimed. It was a British colony that had never been part of the Chinese nation-state. While many Hong Kong citizens are glad to have escaped British imperialism, they do not necessarily identify as Chinese nationals.The Party’s strategy should have been to convince them of their stake in joining China. By resorting to coercion, it instead runs the risk of reinforcing Hong Kong’s distinct identity while creating generations who view China as a new imperial power, much as do many Tibetans and Turkic Muslims.”

Benno Weiner

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