The People's War Against Earthquakes

The People's War Against Earthquakes

Fa-ti Fan

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Earthquakes don't frighten us, the people will surely vanquish nature, Dizhen buzu wei renmin ding shengtian (地震不足畏人民定胜天), from the series Earthquake relief propaganda posters. Publisher: Dizhen chubanshe (地震出版社) Size: 77x53 cm. Call number: BG E13/423 (Landsberger collection) Link to image

The project examines the earthquake monitoring and prediction program known as “Collective Monitoring, Collective Defense,” in Cultural Revolution China. In the 1960’s and 70’s, China experienced a period of serious political upheavals and natural disasters. Guided by their scientific and political ideas, the Chinese developed approaches to earthquake monitoring and prediction that emphasized mass participation, everyday knowledge, and observations of macro-seismic phenomena. The project explains the ideas, practices, and epistemologies of the program within the political context of communist China. It also suggests possibilities for comparative analysis of science, state, and disaster control.