The crowd—be it a politicized cohesive body of the people as a revolutionary force of historical advance, a mindless swarm that is unable to perform political reasoning, or a formidable mob as the impediment to a healthy social movement—has figured prominently as a new historical subject in modern China. Tie Xiao's work approaches the crowd (qunzhong 群眾) as “a highly charged object of psychological investigation, aesthetic depiction, and political investment” (4) and highlights its “cultural salience and forms of intelligibility” (6) within modern China's revolutionary transformations. His study aptly captures the ambiguities, instabilities, and profound anxieties and disorientation that characterized the relationship between the individual and the political crowd in the first half of twentieth-century Chinese history. The Chinese intellectuals had “simultaneous detachment and identification” (2) toward the crowd, and more often than not, they longed to build connections with and merge themselves...

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