Jiayi Li

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20232024 Forum on Revolution

Jiayi Li

Intellectual History, Economics

CAS, 2025

Jiayi Li is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. Originally from Beijing, he went to high school in Tennessee before coming to Penn. Currently, he is majoring in Intellectual History and Economics with a possible minor in International Relations. Broadly interested in everything history related, especially modern history, he is still looking for a more focused research topic. His project, which explores the agrarian situation in 1920s rural China and its intertwined history with the Communist International, builds upon a research paper that he wrote for a history seminar in the past year. Outside of the classroom, Jiayi can be found playing trombone for the Penn Band.

Translating the Marxist Teleology into Rural China: The Conceptualization of the ‘Feudal Relation of Land’ and the Agrarian Revolution under the United Front, 1924-1927

My project investigates the agrarian revolution that took place from 1924 to 1927 in the Chinese countryside, with a particular emphasis on the conceptualization of the “ancient and feudal relation of land” which was proposed by the Communist International as its theoretical guideline. The applicability of such an idea – established largely upon the Marxist doctrine and the European context – to rural China became a persistent point of debate between the Comintern and the Chinese Nationalist Party and contributed to the eventual collapse of the agrarian revolution. I want to explore the generation, perception, and reception of such an idea between factions in the revolution, hoping to assess the effect of this conflict of ideas on the Chinese agrarian revolution.