Fifty Photographs: selections from SCUA collections

Ming tombs

by Theodore Goldfarb, 1978

In 1978, a group of scientists and engineers traveled to China, under the banner of “Science for the People.” The group, called Scientists and Engineers for Social and Political Action (SESPA), had formed in the late 1960s, called to action by the antiwar movement and concerns for their work in a changing political context.

The group’s second trip to China allowed them to investigate socialist agricultural practices throughout the country. Goldfarb photographed the group’s visits to various sites in China, including factories and farms, as well as the Forbidden City and the Ming Tombs. The map pictured here reflects the aesthetic of the Cultural Revolution as it was applied to national heritage, with its modern, populist poster style.