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2015-16 LRCCS Event Videos

The Chinese Communist Party's Strategy for Survival

April 25, 2016 - Bruce Dickson, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University

China watchers have been looking for signs of regime change and democratization for years, and yet the Party remains firmly in power. The Party enjoys more popular support than is often recognized, but that support is soft in a variety of ways. Using recent public opinion data, this talk will examine the Party’s strategy for survival and the public's response to it.

Bruce Dickson is professor of political science and international affairs at the George Washington University. His research focuses on the evolution of the Chinese political system and the role of the Chinese Communist Party within it. His latest book is "The Dictator's Dilemma: The Chinese Communist Party's Strategy for Survival" (Oxford, 2016).

Digital Perspectives on Middle-Period Chinese Political History

April 5, 2016 - Hilde De Weerdt, Professor of Chinese History, Leiden University

In twelfth-century Song China governmental control over current information circulated orally, in manuscript, and print became stricter. At the same time, the private and commercial publication of state documents, court news, and recent history grew exponentially. The former aspect, censorship, has received much attention in Chinese Studies. Professor de Weerdt proposes that both aspects, secrecy and publicity, need to be understood together, and she will reflect on the causes for central and local governments’ ambivalent stance towards the circulation of archival materials and current affairs and their longer-term consequences on imperial Chinese political culture.

Hilde De Weerdt is Professor of Chinese History at the Leiden Institute for Area Studies. Prior to this she taught at King’s College London (Reader in Chinese History, 2012-13), Oxford University (University Lecturer/Associate Professor in Chinese History, 2007-2012) and Pembroke College (Fellow, 2007-2012), and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (Assistant Professor of Chinese History, 2002-2007).

Schema and Substance in a Northern Song Vessel

February 2, 2016 - Jeffrey Moser, Assistant Professor of the History of Art and Architecture, Brown University

In the sixth year of the Zhenghe era (1116), Emperor Huizong commanded the casting of a bronze cauldron for his close advisor, the eunuch Tong Guan. The resulting cauldron, which survives today in the collection of the National Palace Museum in Taipei, instantiated the court’s response to a long-standing debate over the proper means of embodying antiquity in the present. Through a close reading of the cauldron’s distinctively polytemporal features, this paper excavates the hermeneutics with which Song intellectuals negotiated the ground between abstract unity and substantive difference.

Land and the Chinese Economy: The Politics of Economic Management

November 10, 2015 - Meg Rithmire, Assistant Professor, Government and International Economy Unit, Harvard Business School

Governments adopt different tools of macroeconomic management—for example, interest rates, wage restraint, exchange rate management, and Keynesian fiscal tools—to suit their political needs and manage business cycles. In this talk, I argue that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has used its control over the land supply as the key instrument of macroeconomic management since the early 1990s. Instead of imagining land politics in China as battles between predatory local governments against a central government that tries, in vain, to discipline local officials, this perspective instead sees local governments as agents of the state, implementing macroeconomic policy and acting as scapegoats for public anger over land grabs.

China’s Economy Today ~ The New Normal and Old Challenges

October 30, 2015 - A Symposium to Honor Robert F. Dernberger
Panelists include Nicholas Lardy, Peterson Institute; Kenneth Lieberthal, Brookings Institution; Dwight Perkins, Harvard University; Thomas Rawski, University of Pittsburgh; Gene Chang, University of Toledo; Yasheng Huang, MIT; Albert Park, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Penelope Prime, Georgia State University; Yuen Yuen Ang and Jing Cai, University of Michigan.

Violent Media: Beyond the Stereotype of Chinese Cruelty

April 12, 2016 - Andrea Bachner, Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, Cornell University

This talk will focus on contestations of the stereotype of Chinese cruelty in recent Chinese culture, especially in Mo Yan’s 2001 novel "The Sandalwood Execution" and the 2002 video installation "Ling chi: Echoes of a Historical Photograph" by Taiwanese artist Chen Chieh-jen. In dialogue with prejudiced representations of China in the West, such as the circulation of photographs of Chinese executions after the Boxer Rebellion or Georges Bataille’s "Tears of Eros" of 1961, as well as Chinese reflections on cruelty and spectatorship, Mo Yan and Chen foreground different media to rethink the link between interculturality and violence.

Andrea Bachner is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Cornell University. Her research explores comparative intersections between Sinophone, Latin American, and European cultural productions in dialogue with theories of interculturality, sexuality, and mediality. Her first book, "Beyond Sinology: Chinese Writing and the Scripts of Cultures" (Columbia University Press, 2014), analyzes how the Chinese script has been imagined in recent decades in literature and film, visual and performance art, design and architecture, both within Chinese cultural contexts and in different parts of the “West.” She is the co-editor (with Carlos Rojas) of the "Oxford Handbook of Modern Chinese Literatures" (forthcoming 2016) and has published articles in "Comparative Literature," "Comparative Literature Studies," "Concentric, German Quarterly," "Modern Chinese Literature and Culture," "Taller de Letras" as well as in several edited volumes. She has just completed a genealogy of the concept of inscription that probes the media imaginaries of poststructuralist theory ("Inscriptive Passions, Poststructuralist Prehistories") and is currently working on a reflection on the limits of comparison through an exploration of the rich history of cultural contact, exchange, and affinity between Latin American and Chinese cultures from the late 19th century to today ("Comparison at the Margins: Latin America and the Sinophone World").

Dream of the Red Chamber, the Opera

February 16, 2016

Bright Sheng
Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor
School of Music, Theater and Dance
University of Michigan

David Rolston
Associate Professor
Asian Languages and Cultures
University of Michigan

On September 10th, 2016, the San Francisco Opera will present the world premiere of a new opera which it commissioned based on “Dream of the Red Chamber,” the most popular novel in the history of Chinese literature, with music by Bright Sheng, and libretto by David Henry Hwang and Bright Sheng.  On Thursday, February 18, at 8 pm, the Department of Opera at U-M's School of Music, Theater and Dance will present a workshop for the opera at the Stamps Auditorium of the Arthur Miller Theater on North Campus. Please note that this workshop is only open to U-M faculty, students and staff.

The talk will be a discussion between Professor  Bright Sheng and Professor David Rolston, both LRCCS Faculty Associates, on the operatic adaptation approach to the novel, and concludes with video presentation of concert performance (with orchestra and singers) of some of the musically and dramatically crucial arias in the opera.

Is there a Chinese Model of Legal Reform?

January 26, 2016Benjamin Liebman, Robert L. Lieff Professor of Law; Director of the Ctr. for Chinese Legal Studies, Columbia Law School

Over the past two years China has launched some of the most significant legal reforms in decades.  At the same time, significant doubt remains regarding China's leadership's commitment to rule of law values.  In his remarks Professor Liebman will outline recent developments in legal reform in China and will discuss their implications for understanding and conceptualizing legal development in China.

Rethinking the Socialist Heroine: Feminine Agency in Chinese Dance Dramas of the late 1950s

November 3, 2015 - Emily Wilcox, Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Studies, U-M Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

The standard argument about women’s representation in socialist Chinese performance art is that androgyny replaced gender difference, while women remained politically subordinate to men, even when playing the heroine in revolutionary tales of empowerment and social change. Such figures have tended to be identified in works of the late Mao era, also known as the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), rather than in the earlier, more prolific periods of Maoist cultural production. By examining the three most popular dance dramas of the pre-Cultural Revolution era—Magic Lotus Lantern (1957), Five Red Clouds (1959), and Dagger Society (1959)—I challenge conventional claims about the socialist heroine in Maoist China, by showing leading women that enact “feminine agency”: political empowerment performed through conventionally gendered female bodies.

Zhang Yimou: Globalization and the Subject of Culture

September 22, 2015Wendy Larson, Vice Provost for Portland Programs, Professor, East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Oregon

Over the course of his career, Zhang Yimou has focused on the way in which the cultural—in particular as opposed to the political—works or does not work to form a dynamic and coherent narrative of community in time and space. His position on the viability of culture evolved with domestic and global changes, while remaining a core concern. This talk will address Zhang’s emphasis on the cultural and discuss how it structures several films, including Red Sorghum (1987), The Story of Qiuju (1992), Keep Cool (1997) and Hero (2002).

Cross-Strait Relations on the Eve of Elections: A Shaky Status Quo

October 13, 2015 - Steven Goldstein, Sophia Smith Professor of Government, Smith College

Since 2008 relations between Taiwan and the mainland have been a picture of stability amid growing tensions in Asia. What might be the impact of Taiwan's 2016 presidential elections on these relations? What should be the posture of the United States?