Tiananmen Square Essays

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My world history course is organized around the issue of globalization and the resistance of individual cultures to global pressures.

We spent considerable time focusing on cultural interactions and exchanges, the role of information and media, and the consequences of violence as it affected world societies.

When I reached the topic of the student protests in the spring of 1989, I used several photos of Tiananmen, including the ones referenced in the Solidarity stamps that I would later show them.

For Solidarity itself, I took a similar long view, beginning with the rise of the labor union in the 1970s, the economic shortages and declaration of martial law in the early 1980s, and then culminating with the peaceful “Roundtable Talks” in February 1989.

I used this stamp set in a world history survey, as part of a lecture covering the fall of Communism.

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I focused on two major events, the rise of Solidarity and the Chinese economic reforms, and in this stamp these two strands of history overlapped in a very effective way.

Citizens more readily believed rumors than newspapers, radio, or television, which were inherently compromised by state censorship.

It is increasingly hard for students in our media-saturated era to envision a society in which text-messaging was not immediately available.

In the aftermath of the events of 1989, the newly-elected government in Poland, led by Solidarity, issued a set of commemorative stamps to highlight some of the important struggles in the recent past.

One set of these stamps memorializes the events of Tiananmen Square.


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