Department or Program


Second Department or Program

Asian Studies


During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR), Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) relied on the mass production of propaganda as a primary mechanism for indoctrination and mobilization. The period’s social and political upheaval led to the destruction of thousands of historical documents and sites, yet collections of Maoist propaganda posters have survived until today, including a small collection depicting Africans and Black Americans alongside messages of solidarity, revolution, and anti-imperialism. After World War II, the CCP began publicly supporting various independence movements in Africa and civil rights groups in the United States, often weighing in on issues of systemic oppression and racism across the world. These posters unveil critical details about the links between China and Africa, specifically the ways in which party leadership framed issues of global hegemony early in the Communist Era and regarded African and Afro-American individuals as important allies (or at least useful visual representatives) in their revolution. This thesis highlights the ways in which such artwork acted as a political tool for articulating grievances, identifying relevant actors, problems, and injustices, and setting forth solutions through state-led rhetoric. Drawing on close analysis of numerous archived posters, Maoist texts, and scholarly articles, the thesis explores and elucidates these Afro-Asian images within the context of Mao’s rise, decolonization, third-worldism, the global Cold War and other ideological tensions in the mid-century communist world.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Chaney, Wes

Second Advisor

Faries, Nathan

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf


Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.