Contemporary China Lecture Series

During the 2015-2016 academic year, the Asian Studies Program hosted the Contemporary China Lecture Series. The Contemporary China Lecture Series featured renown scholars and experts from the United States and abroad across the fields of Sinology, politics, security studies, economics, sociology, and history. In light of China's growing presence and power in the world, each expert  offered their analysis of the role China will play in the 21st century and its impact on the U.S.-China relationship and the global order. The series was co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the School of Foreign Service, the Asian Studies Program, and the Mortara Center for International Studies

"Meet the Author: Tom Christensen on The China Challenge"

Dr. Thomas J. Christensen is the author of The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power. Dr. Christensen is a professor of politics at Princeton University and served in the Bush administration as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2006 to 2008. In this book, Dr. Christensen argues against the notion of China as a threatening, rival superpower to the United States in Asia. Dr. Christensen describes the challenge China poses to the U.S. lies in their potential to incite regional aggression and reluctance to uphold the global order.


"Explaining the Evolution of China's Military Strategy ft. Taylor Fravel"

This talk examined when, why and how China has adopted major changes in its military strategy since 1949. Dr. Taylor Fravel is Associate Professor of Political Science and a member of the Security Studies Program at MIT. Dr. Fravel graduated from Middlebury College and Stanford University, where he received his PhD. He has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University, a Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, a Fellow with the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program and a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In March 2010, he was named Research Associate with the National Asia Research Program launched by the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center. 

"Frames, Repertoires and Performances: Land Reform Campaigns and State building in Sunan and Taiwan, 1950-1953 ft. Julia Strauss"

Dr. Julia Strauss is a professor in the China Institute of Chinese Politics in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She moved to the Department of Political and International Studies at SOAS in 1994. Professor Strauss served as Editor of The China Quarterly from 2002-2011 and was promoted to Professor in 2013. She offers courses in Chinese politics and comparative political sociology. This talk explored the ways in which both Taiwan and mainland China pursued their signature land reform campaigns as a means to penetrate the countryside, garner support, crush putative enemies, and make itself communicate its values and norms to rural constituencies. 


"China's Security Concerns: The Enduring Link between External and Internal Challenges ft. Avery Goldstein"

Dr. Avery Goldstein is the David M. Knott Professor of Global Politics and International Relations, Director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China, and Associate Director of the Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics at the University of Pennsylvania. Goldstein's research focuses on international relations, security studies, and Chinese politics. His talk discussed the evolution of the People's Republic of China (PRC) security strategy from its beginnings in 1949 into the 21st century. Since 1949, China's leaders have grown increasingly concerned about internal security challenges and their possible links to external threats. The CCP's concern about linked internal and external security challenges is not new, but changes in this concern reflect the evolution of China's grand strategy.

"China’s Response to its Complex, Multipolar Nuclear Neighborhood ft. Christopher Twomey"

Dr. Christopher P. Twomey is an associate professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, where he focuses on Chinese foreign policy and East Asian security. He works with the Departments of Defense and State on a range of strategic and Asian security issues. Among many global changes, the 21st century has ushered in the “Second Nuclear Age” with attendant nuclear proliferation and diversification of strategic systems. Bilateral, stable balances have given way to a more complex geometry of dynamic strategic interaction.  Nowhere are these changes more pronounced than in China’s neighborhood, where Beijing sits at the fulcrum of several triangular security dilemmas in the strategic realm.

"Brainwash, Rinse, Repeat: the Structure and Process of Thought Reform in Contemporary China ft. Andrew Mertha"

Dr. Andrew Mertha is professor of government, specializing in Chinese and Cambodian politics, particularly on political institutions, the policy process, and the exercise of power. He is a core faculty member in the Cornell East Asia Program and the Cornell Southeast Asia Program. He is also the Director of the China and Asia Pacific Studies Program. Might authoritarian one-party systems experience something akin to party identification affective proximity to the Party that waxes and wanes over time? Such cycles do not center on elections, but on the politics of succession, new policy initiatives, and ad hoc housecleaning. Dr. Mertha argued that a key mechanism animating such variation in party identification of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cadres lies within the recurring rectification efforts seeking to temper these individuals and make them more submissive to the larger political goals of the Party Center. 

"Moving In and Moving Up? Labor Conditions and China's Changing Development Model"

Dr. Mary E. Gallagher is an associate professor of political science at the University of Michigan where she is also the director of the Kenneth G. Lieberthal and Richard H. Rogel Center for Chinese Studies. Professor Gallagher received her Ph.D. in politics in 2001 from Princeton University and her B.A. from Smith College in 1991. She was a foreign student in China in 1989 at Nanjing University. For the last decade, a large contingent of manufacturing firms in developmental zones on China's coast has moved to inland provinces. In this talk Professor Gallagher analyzed the implications of this move inland for Chinese workers and connected these changes to broader changes in China's development model.