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Bureaucracy and the Arts of Rulership in Historical Asia and the Modern World

Commentaries on Alexander Woodside's "Lost Modernities: China, Vietnam, Korea, and the Hazards of World History," in Conversation with the Author

Saturday, May 19, 2007
9:15 AM - 5:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

A one-day workshop presented by the UCLA Asia Institute, in collaboration with the University of Washington East Asia Center

This brief book based on four Reischauer Lectures delivered at Harvard University in 2001 offers a lively and learned study of bureaucratic principles and policies that represent important and distinctive traits of states in late imperial China, Korea and Vietnam. Alexander Woodside, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Brithish Columbia and a specialist of both China and Vietnam, extends his range to include Korea where bureaucratic rule was based on the same repertoire of ideas and institutions available in China and Vietnam. He invites us to consider connections among these three cases of bureaucratic government that develop their capacities and priorities separate from those that would later characterize the more familiar Euro-American developments of bureaucratic administration.

During the morning session, specialists from the three countries considered in the book will offer perspectives on the features of bureaucratic and state development in local and historical context. During the afternoon session, scholars will offer additional theoretical insights from the broader Asian and world historical contexts. There will be ample time for discussion during the sessions, with responses by Professor Woodside. By viewing his contribution from both regional and more global perspectives we are challenged to consider how his arguments and evidence can affect the kinds of research that specialists pursue and the ways in which teachers at the secondary and college levels teach the histories of China, Korea and Vietnam.

The China in Asia Workshop Series is a four-year collaborative project between the UCLA Asia Institute and the University of Washington East Asia Center to examine the economic, political, and cultural relationship of China and its neighbors from both historical and contemporary perspectives.

Program Schedule


Lost Modernities: Perspectives from China, Vietnam, and Korea

  • Opening Remarks – R. Bin Wong, History & Asia Institute, UCLA
  • Introductory Presentation – Alexander Woodside, History, University of British Columbia, Emeritus
  • Response from China – R. Kent Guy, History, University of Washington
  • Response from Vietnam – Charles Wheeler, History, UC Irvine
  • Response from Korea – John Duncan, Asian Languages & Cultures, UCLA
  • Discussion
12:00-1:30 Lunch 10367 Bunche Hall

Perspectives from World History

  • Japan – Luke Roberts, History, UC Santa Barbara
  • India – Sanjay Subrahmanyam, History, UCLA
  • Comparative Social History – Daniel Chirot, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
  • Response from Alexander Woodside
  • Discussion
4:30-5:30 Reception

Lunch will be provided to those who RSVP by May 11 to

Cost : Free

(310) 825-0007

Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Center for Chinese Studies, Asia Institute, University of Washington East Asia Center

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