Western Theory’s Chinese Transformation


French left-wing literary theories have continued to accept and interpret Mao Zedong’s thought (including his theories on literature and art) from the 1960s to today. This intellectual communication enabled the formation of Louis Althusser’s structural Marxism and contemporary left-wing literary theory. Mao’s theory of contradiction and his thoughts on reliance on the popular masses, aesthetics and politics, and people’s literature and art are the major intellectual resources for Louis Althusser’s, Alain Badiou’s, and Slavoj Žižek’s theories and are fully integrated into their theoretical system and critical practice. Althusser, Badiou, and Žižek innovated materialistic dialectics on the basis of Mao’s theory of contradiction, within which, however, there are misreadings. Meanwhile, Jacques Rancière integrates Mao’s theory of the mass line and his political views on literature and art into his own theories of politics of disagreement, distribution of the sensible, and politics of literature. Nevertheless, the Maoism recognized by the French left should not be equated with Mao Zedong Thought in China, as misreadings arising from “the Wind from the East” are inevitable.