2017-2018 Event Videos
The Mirage of Development: The Sichuan Earthquake, One Decade Later | 4/17/2018
In today’s talk, Professor Sorace argues that the Communist Party is discursively path dependent on specific narratives of legitimation, which constrain its ability to govern and be responsive to people’s needs. In particular, he will discuss the post-2008 Sichuan earthquake reconstruction of Yingxiu township, which was reconstructed to perform the Party’s benevolence, with scant consideration for its impact on the lives of local residents.
Christian Sorace is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Colorado College and a former postdoctoral fellow at the Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW) at the Australian National University. He is the author of "Shaken Authority: China’s Communist Party and the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake" published in May 2017 with Cornell University Press. His articles have appeared in "Critical Inquiry," "Comparative Politics," "The China Journal," and "The China Quarterly" among other journals. He is also the editor of the Arts and Culture section of a new open-access quarterly journal called "Made in China." His new research focuses on comparative urbanization and land-rights in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and Inner Mongolia, China.
Gender, Gambling, and the State in the Militarized Islands between China and Taiwan | 4/3/2018
When Chiang Kai-shek retreated to Taiwan in 1949, he still kept under occupation two archipelagos near China -- Kinmen and Matsu -- and transformed them into military islands (1949-92). When scholars study these islands, they mostly do so from the perspective of the Mao-Chiang conflict or global geopolitics. These islands are thus considered as the products of the Communist-Nationalist rivalry or confrontations of the Cold War. This talk, instead, aims to analyze this history from the perspective of the island society and culture, in particular, the islanders' gender relations and gambling habits. Dr. Lin will start with the period before the army arrived, discuss the population's experience of militarization during 1949-92, and indicate how gender and gambling culture can shed new light on our understanding of this history.
Wei-ping Lin received her PhD in Anthropology from Cambridge University. She joined the National Taiwan University in 1999, where she is a professor. She is affiliated with the Harvard-Yenching Institute during 2017-18. Her research concerns Chinese popular religion, including topics related to material culture, spirit mediums, and urban religious transformation. She is the author of "Materializing Magic Power: Chinese Popular Religion in Villages and Cities" (Harvard University Asia Center, 2015). During the year at Harvard, she will be writing a book manuscript about the role of imagination in the military outposts between China and Taiwan.
Between Arming and Disarming: The Culture and Politics of Private Gun Ownership in Modern China | 3/13/2018
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, private gun ownership became surprisingly common. Civilian ownership of guns not only contributed to persistent social violence, but also transformed power structurers in local society and accelerated local militarization, changing the balance of power between state and society. The decision that each political entity made about how to deal with armed civilians had profound effects in the national political arena.
Lei Duan is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Liebethal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. His main research interest is social violence and state power in China. His current book project focuses on private gun ownership and its sociocultural and political implications in modern China from 1860 to 1949. He received his PhD in 2017 from the Department of History at Syracuse University, obtained an MA in History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2011, and his BA from Nankai University in 2008.
Evoking Enlightenment: The Rise of Poetic Language in Early Tantric Ritual | 3/6/2018
With the advent of the tantras came an unprecedented interest in the imagination, aesthetic experience, and poetic expression. At key moments in tantric ritual practice, poetic language began to be used to evoke a taste of awakening. The shift is seen most clearly in early tantric ritual manuals, the documents of lived Buddhist practice, examples of which will be drawn from the Dunhuang archive and analyzed for the kinds of literary moves they make.
Jacob Dalton, Khyentse Foundation Distinguished Professor in Tibetan Buddhism, University of California, Berkeley, holds joint appointments in the departments of East Asian Languages and Culture and South and Southeast Asian Studies, for which he currently serves as chair. After working for three years (2002-05) as a researcher with the International Dunhuang Project at the British Library, he taught at Yale University (2005-2008) before moving to Berkeley. He works on tantric ritual, Nyingma Religious history, paleography, and the Dunhuang manuscripts. He is the author of "The Taming of the Demons: Violence and Liberation in Tibetan Tantra" (Columbia University Press, 2016), and co-author of "Tibetan Tantric Manuscripts from Dunhuang: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Stein Collection at the British Library" (Brill, 2006). He is currently working on a study of tantric ritual in the Dunhuang Manuscripts.
Moonwalking in Beijing: Michael Jackson, Piliwu, and the Origins of Chinese Hip-Hop | 2/20/2018
During the latter half of the 1980s, a popular dance craze known as "piliwu" 霹雳舞 swept urban communities across China. Incorporating two new styles of US urban popular dance--New York-based b-boying/b-girling or "breaking" and California-based popping and locking-- piliwu was China's first localized movement of hip-hop culture, which reflected new circuits of intercultural exchange between China and the United States during the first decade of China's Reform Era. Analyzing the dance choreography recorded in a 1988 Chinese film, Rock Youth 摇滚青年 (dir. Tian Zhangzhuang), together with media reports and testimonials from members of China's piliwu generation, this talk reconstructs the history of the piliwu movement, arguing for the central influence of U.S. pop culture icon Michael Jackson, the growth of China's underground commercial dance (zou xue 走穴) economy, and the agency of dancers' bodies in transnational movements of media culture.
Emily Wilcox is Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. She is a specialist in Chinese performance culture, especially dance, and has published articles in both English and Chinese in "Asian Theatre Journal," "TDR: The Drama Review," "The Journal of Asian Studies," "Wudao Pinglun (The Dance Review)," and other venues. Dr. Wilcox co-curated the 2017 exhibition "Chinese Dance: National Movements in a Revolutionary Age, 1945-1965" that was on display in the UM Hatcher Library last spring, and she is the author of a forthcoming book on the history of concert dance in the People's Republic of China.
Between Blood and Sex: The Contradictory Impact of Transnational AIDS Institutions on State Repression in China, 1989-2013 | 2/13/2018
Do external interventions matter? Existing research has focused on the extent to which transnational efforts compel recalcitrant governments to reduce levels of domestic repression, but few have considered how such interventions might also provoke new forms of repression. Using a longitudinal study of repression against AIDS activism in China between 1989 and 2013, Professor Long will propose that transnational institutions’ provision of material resources and reshaping of organizational rules can transform a domestic repressive apparatus in specific policy areas. The intervention of transnational AIDS institutions in China not only constrained traditional violent coercion, but also generated new forms of “diplomatic repression” that inadvertently contributed to expanded mobilization for urban gay men but demobilization for others. She will conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for understanding authoritarian innovation and sustainability.
Yan Long is an Assistant Professor of International Studies and Sociology at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is a cultural and organizational sociologist interested in the evolution of technocratic governance as a transnational institutional model and its impact on existing forms of domination and resistance. Yan’s current book project, "Side Effects: The Transnational Doing and Undoing of AIDS Politics in China" (under contract, Oxford Studies in Culture and Politics), concerns the transformation of China’s infectious disease control driven by the conflict between transnational AIDS institutions, the state, and local activist groups. This book stems from her dissertation that won the 2014 ASA Dissertation Award. Yan was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society after obtaining her PhD in Sociology and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
History as Context for the Present: A Family Story of China's Coming of Age | 2/8/2018
If you end up on the wrong side of history, nobody writes yours. Correspondent Scott Tong of Marketplace public radio – and a 2013-14 University of Michigan Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow – talks about China’s long and interrupted opening to the world, told through the lives of five people across five generations in his own family. The stories are told in his new book, A Village with My Name: A Family History of China’s Opening to the World.
He begins by pursuing the lives of relatives and ancestors whose names are hardly ever spoken at the family table. The untold stories and history help fill in an oft-ignored chapter in the China story: the contribution of mainlanders who adopted the ideas, music and literature of the outside world. Although A Village with My Name is a personal, historical work of narrative nonfiction, it provides history as context to the present. Tong, who is reporting on the current globalization backlash, will also address issues of national identity, globalization and drawbridges that many in the world are asking right now.
Scott Tong has reported from more than a dozen countries as correspondent for Marketplace, from refugee camps in east Africa to shoe factories in eastern China. He toured the oil sands of Canada and snuck into Burma. Currently he serves as correspondent for Marketplace’s Sustainability Desk, where his coverage focuses on energy, the environment, natural resources and the global economy.
In 2006, Scott opened Marketplace’s first permanent bureau in China, as Shanghai bureau chief. His first book, A Village with My Name: A Family History of China’s Opening to the World (University of Chicago Press, 2017), is a personal, journalistic discovery of China’s long and interrupted economic opening. More than a faraway story from a long time ago, it addresses the divisive questions about globalization and drawbridges that many countries are debating today.
His reporting includes special coverage of the 2016-2017 globalization backlash; Water: The High Price of Cheap; Venezuela’s economic collapse; the triumph of the shareholder value model in the U.S. and the Price of Profits; the challenge of long-term job creation in the United States; the 2011 Japan tsunami and recovery; the 2011 famine in the Horn of Africa; and the economics of one child in China. In 2013-14, Scott was awarded the Knight-Wallace journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan.
Scott joined Marketplace in 2004, after working as a producer and off-air reporter for the PBS NewsHour, where he produced a series of mini-documentaries from Iraq following the U.S. invasion in 2003. He’s appeared on the PBS NewsHour, the Aspen Ideas Festival and TedxFoggybottom.
A graduate of Georgetown University, Scott is a native of Poughkeepsie, New York. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife Cathy and three children. He is an acknowledged soccer dad and cycles to work at a measured pace.
Cosponsored by the U-M Knight-Wallace Program.
Who is the 'Common' in the 'Common Good?' Public Health, Global Health, and the Bifurcation of Service and Governance in Urban China | 2/6/18
In this talk, Dr. Mason will examine the reinvention of the Chinese public health system that took place following the SARS epidemic of 2003, and the implications of this transformation both for the health of China's population and for global health and public health systems more broadly.
Katherine A. Mason is a medical anthropologist who has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in China and the U.S. Her research addresses issues in medical anthropology, population health, global health, bioethics, China studies, reproductive health, and mental health. Her first book, "Infectious Change: Reinventing Chinese Public Health after an Epidemic," based on fieldwork she conducted in southeastern China on the professionalization and ethics of public health in China following the 2003 SARS epidemic, was published by Stanford University Press in 2016. She is currently working on a multi-sited ethnographic field project that examines family experiences of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders in the U.S. and China. She is also a core consultant on the AmeRicans’ Conceptions of Health Equity Study (ARCHES), funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Mason is affiliated with Brown's Population Studies and Training Center, and the Program in Science and Technology Studies, and she has served as an adviser in the Engaged Scholars Program. Her research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, U.S. Fulbright program, and Association for Asian Studies. She has previously held positions as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar (2013-2015) and a Lecturer in the Health and Societies program at the University of Pennsylvania (2011-2013). She received her PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard University in 2011.
Moralizing the Revolution: Morality, Mobilization, and Violence in the Early Maoist Period | 11/21/17
How do political actors mobilize support for and participation in violent movements and causes? Traditional collective action approaches have largely downplayed or ignored the significant moral-emotional barriers to participation, particularly in the context of high-risk, violent movements. Dr. Javed argues that political actors can eliminate these barriers to participation in violence by leveraging popular morality to: 1) delineate new social boundaries within communities that separate the "virtuous" public from a "morally degenerate" minority; and 2) provoke popular outrage against members of this targeted group through the theatrical display of their alleged moral transgressions--violations of shared norms of right and wrong behavior. He will demonstrate this process of moral mobilization using the case of the Chinese Communist Party's mass mobilization of violence against so-called "landlords" and "counterrevolutionaries" during the first several years of the Maoist period (1949-1953).
Jeffrey Javed is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the intersection of social mobilization and political violence, with a secondary focus on moral governance and memory politics. His current book project explores the process by which the nascent Chinese state mobilized popular participation in state repression during the mass campaigns of the early 1950s. He received his Ph.D. in 2017 from the Department of Government at Harvard University, and his B.A. in Sociology and East Asian Studies from Cornell University in 2009.
Capital Punishment and “Confucian Clemency”: The Quandaries of Qing Criminal Justice | 11/14/17
Violent crime in the Chinese provinces of the empire was a growing concern for the Qing court over the course of the long eighteenth century (1683-1820). Part of a wider, unprecedented “legislative turn” in imperial rule that quadrupled the number of substatutes in the Qing code, successive emperors enacted a flood of new legislation that expanded the concept of criminal behavior and increased the number of death penalty offenses that were subject to annual review. The crackdown on crime swamped the judicial bureaucracy and created ideological, political, and institutional quandaries for the eighteenth-century criminal justice.
Tom Buoye is an Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Tulsa, Research Associate, Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, and Team Member, “Legalizing Space in China,” Institut d’Asie Orientale, ENS Lyon, France, an international collaborative project to translate the sub-statutes of the Qing dynasty law code. His research interests span social, legal, and economic history of late imperial China. His current research focuses on the crisis in eighteenth century criminal justice and the “legislative turn” in Qing rule.
Commodifying Art, Chinese Style: The Making of China’s Visual Art Market | 10/31/17
Jun Zhang, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto
The rapid ascendance of China as a superpower in the global art market and associated transformation of China’s art space have attracted global attention. This talk seeks to interpret the spatial and institutional evolution of China’s visual art market, and the rise of Chinese art clusters such as Songzhuang and the 798 District in Beijing.
Jun Zhang is an assistant professor of Economic Geography at the Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto. Previously, he was on the faculty of Department of Geography, National University of Singapore. His main research interests include: geography of innovation, industrial globalization, and geographic theorizing of markets, states, and institutions. After extensive empirical research on China’s Internet sector and venture capital development, he recently he has been exploring China’s electronics and art sectors, as well as the broad features of the emerging ‘Chinese Capitalism’ and its multi-scalar dynamics. He received his degrees from Peking University and University of Minnesota.
The Literary Inscription of Things in Early Modern China | 10/24/17
Thomas Kelly, Michigan Society of Fellows
In addition to writing with the brush and ink, late imperial Chinese poets engraved their words onto cups and chairs, walking sticks, slabs of stone, and musical instruments. This talk examines how such practices challenge our own notions of writing and reading literature.
Tom Kelly received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2017 and is a first-year fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows. His current research explores the relationship between Chinese literature and the decorative arts in the early modern world.
The Limits of Chinese Buddhism: Protecting the State in the Dali Kingdom (937-1253) | 10/10/17
Megan Bryson, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The Dali Kingdom governed a large swath of territory in what is now southwest China and Southeast Asia. Its rulers embraced Buddhism, especially the state-protection Buddhism of the Renwang jing (Scripture for Humane Kings), which was written in fifth-century China. This talk uses texts and images related to the Renwang jing from the Dali kingdom to examine how border regions like Dali challenge the academic category of “Chinese Buddhism.”
Megan Bryson is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research focuses on Buddhism and local religion in the Dali region of southwest China as well as the themes of gender and ethnicity in Chinese religions. Professor Bryson has published several articles on these topics in journals such as "Asian Ethnology", "Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies", and "Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society". Her monograph, “Goddess on the Frontier: Religion, Ethnicity, and Gender in Southwest China” was published by Stanford University Press last year. She spent the 2016-17 academic year on an ACLS fellowship to work on a new project on Buddhist networks in the Dali kingdom.
Firms’ Strategic Use of Political Connections | 10/3/17
Dr. Nan Jia, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California
We analyze Chinese listed firms to examine how a firm’s political connections in a location influence the firm’s probability of choosing the focal location to establish new subsidiaries. We find that firms are less likely to choose a politically connected location that also faces higher unemployment rates. We also find that political connections matter less for the choice of locations with more developed markets. Therefore, firms’ use of political connections is strategic and highly context dependent.
Dr. Nan Jia is an assistant professor of strategic management at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California. She holds a PhD in Strategic Management from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto (Canada), and B.A. in Economics from Guanghua School of Management, Peking University (China). Her research interests include corporate political strategy, business-governance relationships, and corporate governance in international business. Her research has been published in the Administrative Science Quarterly, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Organizational Science, and Journal of Politics. Her work is mainly empirical, but also incorporates economic modeling. She serves on the editorial boards of the Strategic Management Journal and the Journal of International Business Studies.
The Grand Picture of China's Capitalist Revolution | 9/26/17
Yuen Yuen Ang, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan
Attempts to explain China's development all suffer from a “blind men and elephant" problem: depending on when and where one looks within China, every theory is development is correct, yet none is complete. What then is the grand picture of China's great economic and institutional transformation? The answer lies in the sequence of strategies, rather than in any particular factor. In China, the first step of development was paradoxically to kick-start markets using "weak/wrong/backward" institutions.
Yuen Yuen Ang is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan, and a Faculty Associate at the U-M Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies. She is the author of How China Escaped the Poverty Trap (Cornell University Press, Series in Political Economy, 2016), which won the 2017 Peter Katzenstein Book Prize for “outstanding book in international relations, comparative politics, or political economy.”
An op-ed on her talk is available.