A Decade of Changes
In 1976, Liang Zhaotao was in no position to be feted by anyone, let alone the leaders of his danwei, Zhongshan University. 1 He had been home for only four years, after having been called back from a May Seventh Cadre School in northern Guangdong Province. The mid-1970s were the ebb tide of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the anti-intellectual zeal of that time was abating. Authorities of the Guojia Wenwu Ju (State Cultural Relics Bureau) had decided that Zhongshan University should have an archaeology major and that intellectuals like Liang, despite their uncertain political reliability, were needed to aid in the necessary academic rebuilding.
Archaeology had already been revived in a number of institutes and museums nationwide. So too had paleoanthropology. Ethnology, linguistics, and sociocultural anthropology, however, were still banned; officially excoriated as "bourgeois sciences," these disciplines were formally barred in name although their substance was often carried out under other rubrics such as "minority studies" or "nationality work."
At the universities, "worker-peasant-soldier" (gong-nong-bing) enrollees filled the seats in the recently reopened classrooms and maintained a properly revolutionary guard over the intellectuals returning from their "reform through labor" stints in the countryside. Academic journals began tentatively to publish again, although the social sciences lagged behind the natural sciences by a few years. The climate was improving—indeed merely the fact that universities were