Jennifer Altehenger

Jennifer Altehenger


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Jennifer Altehenger obtained her BA in Oriental Studies from the University of Cambridge and her doctorate from the Institute of Chinese Studies, University of Heidelberg. Before arriving at King's, she was a departmental lecturer in Modern Chinese History at the University of Oxford and Merton College, and an An Wang postdoctoral fellow at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University.

Jennifer's research explores the cultural, political, legal, and material history of modern China. She is interested in the history of propaganda, information, and cultural production under Communist Party rule, the conceptual history of terms and political language, and the role of materiality in Chinese politics and everyday life. Her first book, Legal Lessons: Popularizing Laws in the People's Republic of China, 1949-1989 (Harvard University Press/Harvard University Asia Center, 2018), examined law propaganda and the popularisation of legal knowledge in socialist China during and after the Mao Era. She has further published articles and chapters on the history of lexicography, political satire, and on Communist China's links to other socialist countries before 1989. Her new book project (Material Maoism: a history of everyday industrial design in China) will explore the connection between materials, industrialisation, ideology, and design in China after 1949. As part of this research, she is also working on article-length studies of China's participation at the Leipzig Trade Fairs during the 1950s and 1960s, the socialist lives of bamboo, and the history of fibreboard during the Great Leap Forward.

During the academic year 2018-19 Jennifer will be on research leave funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council leadership fellowship (AH/R000174/1, for further information please see In addition to the monograph Material Maoism, this project will lead to the creation of a new online resource called "The Mao Era in Objects" (designed and hosted by the King's Digital Lab) and a co-edited volume on Mao Era material culture (edited together with Dr Denise Ho, Yale University).


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