Digitizing Chinese Propaganda Posters

Posted January 9th, 2017 at 9:47 am.

Students and faculty gather around a table and examine posters.Project Team

Shiamin Kwa, Anna-Alexandra Fodde-Reguer, Yue Xiu, Mengnan Zhang

Course Involved

EALC 225: 100 Years of Chinese Fiction


Platform development: Summer 2016
Piloted in course: AY 2016-2017

Project Links

Workshop on Haverford’s Chinese Propaganda Poster Collection

Goals and Description

The project involves the digitization and cataloguing of an archive of propaganda posters held in the Quaker and Special Collections of Haverford College’s Magill Library (finding aid). Dr. Cadbury, a Haverford College graduate, was a medical missionary in Canton during the first half of the 20th century, from 1909-1949. In this extensive collection, there is a box containing approximately twenty large-sized propaganda posters dating from the Republican Period in China. The posters, held in the Quaker and Special Collections at Haverford College, are small in
number but remarkable due to the fact that they are not Communist propaganda posters but in fact propaganda posters created by the propaganda offices of the Republic of China, the Nationalist Party that eventually fled to Taiwan when the Communist Party took control of the
mainland. This is an exceptionally unusual and unique find, due to their historical significance. This project involves the digitization of the archive to create a unique pedagogical resource.

In her course “100 Years of Chinese Literature”, Kwa incorporate the posters and their messages into several units, ranging from the debates on the role of “folk” art in reaching the masses as debated by Lu Xun in his defense of woodcuts in the 1910’s and 1920’s, to readings of Mao’s Talks at Yan’an, and the implications for these posters. Students are able to visit the special collections to view the posters, but they are also able to use the digital resources to curate their own digital collections and to embed images in their written work. A potential assignment for this project is to have a student select one of these posters from the archive and to write an essay-length post on the historical significance of
the poster’s content with respect to historical and literary writings from the same period. Future applications include use in a class on the
relationship between word and image in graphic narratives. Students may be asked to curate their own collection of posters using posters from this collection as well as Landsberger’s and Evans’ collections on a topic of their choice.

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