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Protest and the Public Sphere in a Changing China, 1986-2006

A talk by Jeffrey Wasserstrom (UC Irvine)

Thursday, February 08, 2007
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Is it possible that Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is now a more useful fictional lens through which to view China than George Orwell's 1984? Were there similarities as well as differences between the anti-American protests that broke out in Beijing in 1999 and the Tiananmen demonstrations of 1989? And what would Mao, if magically brought back to life, make of a Nanjing bookstore where the philosophy section sometimes contains more studies dealing with Deconstructionism than with Marxism?

These are some of the questions addressed, sometimes seriously and sometimes playfully, in this illustrated talk by Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.  It draws upon the speaker's longtime interest in mass movements (dating back to his first book, Student Protest in Twentieth-Century China, Stanford University Press, 1991) and his experiences in China as an eyewitness to two sets of student demonstrations (those of 1986 and those of 1999). The talk showcases material from his latest book, China's Brave New World--and Other Tales for Global Times (forthcoming from Indiana University Press), some of the chapters in which are adapted from articles that originally appeared in venues such as Newsweek International, the Times Literary Supplement (London), and Dissent Magazine.

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Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom was trained in Chinese and comparative history at Harvard University and U.C. Berkeley and is currently professor of history at University of California, Irvine. He has published widely on topics ranging from urban theory to patterns of Chinese student protest to the gendered aspects of revolutionary struggles. His books include Human Rights and Revolutions (of which he is co-editor; Rowan & Littlefield, 2000), Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities (co-editor; University of California Press, 2002), and Twentieth-Century China: New Approaches (editor; Routledge, 2003) . In addition to various academic venues, his essays have appeared in general interest periodicals such as Christian Science Monitor, American Scholar, and World Policy Journal. He writes regularly for Times Literary Supplement, Dissent Magazine, and Chronicle of Higher Education. In addition, Professor Wasserstrom is a member of the Board of Directors of Long Bow Films.

310 825-8683

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies

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