AAH 194: Visual Culture in Communist China

Union College, Spring 2022

Category: Introductions (Page 1 of 2)


Hello everyone! My name is James O’Hora I am from Connecticut and  currently a Junior studying economics here at Union. I have taken an art history course during the Fall term and it was a very interesting class. I decided to take this course because of my positive experience in the Fall and it is a fun way to meet my language/arts requirement. Also, this class in particular seemed very interesting to see the role in which art played during Communist China and how art supported propaganda and revolutionists.

Avery Clavel

Hi! My name is Avery Clavel and I’m a junior majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Data Analytics. I’m from New Jersey and took AP Art History in high school as well as a European art history class my first year at Union. I enjoy going to art museums and art history is definitely something I’ve taken an interest in the past few years. I’m excited to take this class as a lot of my high school friends live in China so it would be cool to learn more about their history and just art in general.  

Lily van Baaren

Hi there! My name is Lily. I am A first year at Union studying Visual Arts and Psychology. I live in the Pioneer Valley, (Massachusetts) which doesn’t have a lot going on, so often, I find myself traveling and exploring new places in neighboring states.

I haven’t yet taken an Art History course, so I am super excited as this will be my first experience with the subject, and Chinese art material. I am really looking forward to exploring the works of O Zhang and other modern Chinese artists, as well as traditional mid century artists too. My aunt grew up in Shanghai and studied/produced art after the cultural revolution; I am curious if this class can help me understand her art a little better.

Alicia Cynamon

Hi! I’m Alicia, and I’m a first year.  I am from Queens.  I am super interested in Chemistry and want to learn more on environmental studies and ornithology, but my major is undeclared.    I am very excited about this course!  I love learning about art and want to know more about its history and the role it played in the history of Chinese Communism.  I enjoy studying how art and media effect the state quo, but also react to and depict it.  I can’t wait to learn about the social movements and activism illustrated throughout art this term!


Joe McDonagh

Hello, my name is Joe McDonagh. I am a senior electrical engineer who plans on graduating this June if all goes well this spring term! I live on Long Island and love to play sports. After graduation I hopefully will find a job and begin my engineering career. I took this class to fill a requirement, however this course in particular was of interest to me because I believe it would give me an opportunity to learn something new before graduating. Looking forward to a fantastic last spring term here at Union !

Lydia McElroy

Hi, my name is Lydia and I am a junior philosophy major with a minor in art history. I am new to Union this year, and I transferred from McGill University. I am from New York City, and I went to LaGuardia high school where I was an art major. I spend most of my free time practicing art, and I am also involved with the Mandeville Gallery as a student docent. McGill had a really terrible art history department (in my opinion) and no visual art department at all, so I feel very grateful to be here 🙂 I am particularly excited to take my art history studies outside of the western canon in this class. Included is a picture of me that my very sweet brother took.

Aram Festekjian

Hello, my name is Aram and I am a senior at Union College majoring in Art History and Visual Arts. I am originally from Winchester, Massachusetts. After graduation, I will be studying for a master’s degree in Industrial and Product Design at the Rhode Island School of Design. I am taking this class because I am interested in understanding the way propaganda was integrated into people’s daily lives within Communist China. I am also interested in understanding the ways Propaganda as a strategy developed before the integration of technology.

Elaine Du

Hi! My name is Elaine. I am a first year here at Union College. My hometown is Malden, Massachusetts. I don’t have a declared major yet, but I love learning about costume design and historical fashion. My interest in historical art was one of the main reasons why I’m intrigued to learn about how an entire country’s image was so controlled and calculated, given that art is used to express oneself freely. There are also a lot of people that I know who also grew up in Communist China as well, so I wanted to learn about how they lived when they were my age and how they saw the world through that perspective.


My name is Gavin Bibbins. I am a senior and an Asian Studies and Visual Arts ID major and a Psych minor. After graduation I hope to work in 3d animation or computer graphics, digital art is my specialty. Through my study of East Asia I found a love for philosophy in how it permeates the entire being of a society. I believe that with all cultures, values and ways of thinking are imbedded in art and culture, so to best understand the philosophy and art of a culture one should study both. By studying the history of a place through its art one can peer inside the mind of its creator and audience and better grasp the socio-political climate of the time. As viewers we also have to understand that we are never separate from the art and the circumstances in which it was created. These events will continue to shape how we live and exist in the world.


My name is Paxton Ouellette and I am a current senior at Union College, with majors in both history and political science.  Although a majority of my work tends to focus on the United States, I have been able to incorporate Asian studies as well, particularly with how the American government had reacted to Communism in Asia during the twentieth century and how that influenced United States-Asia relations following the end of the Second World War (1939-1945).  My history thesis discusses the changing views of the Japanese by Americans throughout the twentieth century, which was allowed by understanding that Japan was a student of the West, requiring discipline when the nation acted in ways that were not expected (such as was the case in the 1940s and 1980s).  In order to discuss this, I will be using mass media such as political cartoons, songs, newspapers, and films to better understand these changes in opinions towards the Japanese.  Following my graduation from Union in June, I am excited to attend law school in our nation’s capital at George Washington University where I plan to study constitutional law.

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