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2019-20 LRCCS Event Videos

The Winners and Losers of the Belt and Road | February 18, 2020

Wade Shepard, Author/Journalist/Filmmaker

An on-the-ground look at some of the local communities that are being impacted by China's Belt and Road initiative and the broader New Silk Road with an in-depth look at impact areas in Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Georgia, and Poland. What communities are benefiting from the development boom? What communities are being wiped off the map?

Wade Shepard is an author/journalist/filmmaker who has been on the road since 1999, working in over 90 countries. He is the author of ""Ghost Cities of China: The Story of Cities Without People in the World's Most Populated Country,"" which recounts the two and a half years he spent in China's sparsely populated new cities. His latest book is called ""On the New Silk Road: Journeys through China's Artery of Power,"" which covers the three years he spent traveling up and down the Belt and Road trying to decipher out what is actually going on. Wade has been a guest on top news programs, including BBC World News, NPR 'Morning Edition,' CNBC 'Squawk Box,' ABC News 'The World,' and CCTV China 24.

Urban Environment Change in Post-Reform China | February 11, 2020

Peilei Fan, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, Michigan State University

Based on the author’s past and current research and a critical review of related literature, Dr. Fan will introduce patterns, drivers, and impacts of main urban environmental problems in Chinese cities, focusing on air pollution, urban heat islands, and the provision of urban green spaces. She will reveal the co-evolved relationship of urbanization, economic development, and urban environmental conditions. She will also discuss Chinese cities’ urban environmental transition, regional and intra-city perspectives, and the environmental impacts of emerging socioeconomic transformations in China.

Dr. Peilei Fan is a professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Michigan State University (MSU). She has a PhD in Economic Development and a MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, both from MIT. Dr. Fan has served as a consultant/economist for United Nations University –World Institute of Development Economics Research and the Asian Development Bank. Dr. Fan’s research focuses on urban environment and sustainability, innovation and economic development, and planning and policy. Her research projects have been funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) (three as PI and two as Co-PI). She is the Secretary General of International Association of Landscape Ecology (2019-2024). She also serves as the Track Co-Chair for Food Systems, Community Health and Safety for American Collegiate Schools of Planning. She was a Core Fulbright US Scholar for 2017-2018 (Taipei and Shanghai) and is a Public Intellectuals Program Fellow of the National Committee on US-China Relations (2019-20). She has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles and been a guest (co)editor for special issues of four academic journals. She served on the review panels for NASA, EPA, and Fulbright, and been ad-hoc reviewer for NSF and multiple international organizations.

How Hedging Made US-China Tensions Worse: Order, Strategic Competition, and Aggregated Security Dilemmas in Asia and the Pacific

Ja Ian Chong, Associate Professor of Political Science, National University of Singapore

States in Asia and the Pacific have been talking about “hedging” and “not choosing sides” between the United States and China since the 1990s. Their aim was to moderate potential tensions between Washington and Beijing and promote cooperation, but this has not appeared to work. Instead, these disparate efforts to find a middle way between the two major powers resulted in greater levels of uncertain that have exacerbated security dilemma dynamics between the United States and China and created greater incentives for rivalry rather than cooperation.

Chong Ja Ian is an Associate Professor of political science at the National University of Singapore. He received his PhD from Princeton University in 2008 and previously taught at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His research covers the intersection of international and domestic politics, with a focus on the externalities of major power competition, nationalism, regional order and security, contentious politics, and state formation. He works on US-China relations, security and order in Northeast and Southeast Asia, cross-strait relations, and Taiwan politics. Chong is author of "External Intervention and the Politics of State Formation: China, Indonesia, Thailand, 1893-1952" (Cambridge, 2012), a recipient of the 2013 International Security Studies Section Book Award from the International Studies Association. His publications appear in the China Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, International Security, Security Studies, and other journals. At the Harvard-Yenching Institute, Chong will examine how non-leading state behavior collectively intensifies major power rivalries, paying particular attention to the US-China relationship. He has concurrent projects investigating how states react to sanctions on third parties by trade partners and the characteristics of foreign influence operations.

Overreach and Overreaction: The Crisis in U.S.-China Relations | December 3, 2019

Susan Shirk, Chair, 21st Century China Center, University of California, San Diego

Relations between the United States and China today have become more competitive and tense than they have been during the past forty years since the 1979 normalization of diplomatic relations. The deterioration of relations has not been caused by a single incident but is systemic and broad. China’s international and domestic overreaching has provoked a widespread backlash not just in the United States, but in many other advanced economies as well. Within the United States, there is talk about protecting ourselves from the perceived China threat by decoupling our intertwined economies, and Chinese and Chinese-Americans are starting to come under suspicion. How can the two countries stabilize relations and reverse this downward spiral?

Susan Shirk is the Chair of the 21st Century China Center and Research Professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California - San Diego. She is also director emeritus of the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC). Susan Shirk first visited China in 1971 and has been teaching, researching and engaging China diplomatically ever since.

Periphery, Locality, and Status in Writings from Sixteenth-Century Dali, Yunnan | November 26, 2019

Eloise Wright, LRCCS Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan

From 1253, when Mongol armies invaded the independent Dali Kingdom in the southeastern foothills of the Himalayas, its capital, Dali, was transformed into a remote periphery of Yuan and then Ming empires. By the sixteenth century, Dali's gentry families, both indigenous and migrant, were increasingly educating their sons in the classical tradition, to enroll in the civil service examinations and take positions as Ming officials. How did their experiences transform the ways that Dali's literati wrote about their hometown, about its people, and about themselves?

The Emperor Has No Voice: Imperial Utterance in Excavated Han Documents | November 19, 2019

Charles Sanft, Associate Professor and Associate Head, Department of History, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The emperor was at the center of Chinese political theory throughout the imperial period. Sometimes this theoretical position found expression in an announcement to the realm. The First Emperor, for example, made his power known in 221 BCE by means of a widely-distributed inscription in his own voice. My examination of excavated documents the Han central government promulgated in its northwestern border region, however, suggests that the emperors’ theoretical potency was not matched by conspicuous utterance, at least not in those contexts. What emerges instead is taciturnity, constraint, silence. In this presentation, I consider example documents and discuss what the imperial voice in these texts tells us about the nature of rule and rulership in the Han dynasty.

Liu Liangmo (刘良模1909-1988) —Transpacific Mass Singing, Journalism, and Christian Activism | November 12, 2019

Yunxiang Gao, Associate Professor of History, Ryerson University

Professor Gao’s talk lifts out of the dustbin of history the life and career of Liu Liangmo, a talented musician, prolific journalist, and Christian activist. Liu agilely navigated slippery trans-Pacific political and ideological landscapes throughout the World War II and Cold War. After “coaxing the Chinese (civilians and soldiers) into mass signing” and helping to invent the new genre “songs of resistance” to promote national morale and unified resistance against Japan, Liu sojourned to the United States. There, despite close surveillance by the FBI, he formed an unusual alliance with African Americans by contributing a weekly column to the biggest black newspaper “Pittsburgh Courier” and cooperating with Paul Robeson, the world famous singer and actor, in popularizing Chinese songs of resistance. Robeson and Liu brought the future national anthem of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) into global circulation. Meanwhile, Liu traveled more than 100,000 miles to speak and sing about China to grassroots white Americans on behalf of the United China Relief. Later, as a top official representing Protestant denominations in the PRC, Liu helped to bring Christianity into line with the new regime, served China as its authoritative interpreter of the United States, and facilitated the alliance between the PRC and such African American cultural giants as W.E.B Du Bois, Shirley Graham Du Bois, and Paul Robeson.

China’s War on Smuggling: Law, Economic Life, and the Making of the Modern State | October 22, 2019

Philip Thai, Associate Professor of History, Northeastern University

Coastal smuggling has been a thorny problem for successive governments in modern China. But, while smuggling might have operated on the margins of the law, it was far from marginal in driving important historical changes. Introducing his new book, Philip Thai explores how campaigns against smuggling transformed everyday economic life and amplified state power, thereby offering new insights into modern Chinese social, legal, and economic history.

The Ambitious and Anxious: Chinese Undergraduates in the US |October 8, 2019

Yingyi Ma, Associate Professor of Sociology, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

Over the past decade, a wave of Chinese international undergraduate students―mostly self-funded―has swept across American higher education. This privileged yet diverse group of young people from a changing China must navigate the complications and confusions of their formative years while bridging the two most powerful countries in the world. How do these students come to study in the United States? What does this experience mean to them? This talk is based on a forthcoming book to be released by the Columbia University Press in January 2020.