"Chang’s book is a fascinating study of idea systems, that is, sets of interrelated ideas. They are comprised of multiple parts that fit together into a complex system. His empirical comparisons are equally interesting: he uses European Witchcraft (1450 to 1750) as an example of an idea system that is empirically driven, the Chinese communist Revolution (1949 to 1976) as an example of an idea system that is ideationally driven, and the US War on Terror (2001 to 2004) as a hybrid example with both components. In this way, he avoids a simple dichotomy between past and present, modern and premodern, but instead investigates them on their own terms. This book is a great read, regardless of whether or not the reader agrees with the cultural sociology perspective deployed in it. It is a wonderful, highly original book!"
~Professor Rebecca Jean Emigh, Professor, Sociology, UCLA
"Revolution and Witchcraft offers a highly interdisciplinary project...[that] engages with a wide range of scholarship across history, media studies, cognition, and sociology. Gordon Chang provides a wealth of useful tools and terminologies for readers wishing to examine how ideologies function and fit together. "
~J.R. Osborn, Associate Professor of Communication, Culture & Technology (CCT)
and Co-Director of the Iteration Lab, Georgetown University
"In Revolution and Witchcraft, Gordon Chang puts on a clinic in historical episodes. He walks the reader through a sophisticated theoretical framework for how humans produce knowledge, and then puts the theory to work in analyzing case studies that demonstrate how seemingly minor ideological variations can have monumental real-world impacts. While the case studies are familiar, Chang's insights are fresh and thought-provoking."
~Sean Dinces, Historian and Author of Bulls Markets
"Gordon Chang has written a highly relevant new book on the sociology and culture of thought, media cognition, and political ideology that will influence many, including academics, critical theorists, investigative journalists, and media pundits in our “post-truth” world. Chang provides more than sixty concise and analytical, working concepts for the serious student of media and the social manipulation of ideas. The cultural mayhem produced by idealized, partisan codes, the politics of representation, religious-political movements of obfuscating codified discourse, the semiotics of ideology, and more, are all fluidly presented in modern contexts such as the European witch hunts and demonization of social outcasts (comparable to today), radical Maoist “revolutions” in China that germinated elastic (and suspect) mindsets, and George Bush’s evangelistic “War on Terror”. Analysts of political discourse and codes, utopia scholars, historians, semioticians of media and “idea-making technologies”, social linguists, news media, and those seeking to make sense of these unsettled times, will find Chang’s book an incisive and brilliant, multiform conceptual tool kit. I highly recommend it."
~Pierce J. Flynn, PhD, CEO of Blue Sky Consulting
and Author of The Ethnomethodological Movement: Sociosemiotic Interpretations
"In this remarkable book, Gordon Chang innovatively approaches fundamental questions around individual and societal motivations—past and present. Encompassing unique case studies spanning different yet interrelated geographic and historic contexts, Chang demonstrates new avenues for analytically rigorous, cutting-edge sociological theory. This book will be of great interest to scholars across disciplines, but especially cultural studies, Asian Studies, and Global Studies."
~Alex Jong-Seok Lee, Anthropology PhD