Talks and lectures

POSTPONED: Party, Nation-State, Empire: Morphologies of Rule in China

Thursday, 22 February, 17:00 - 18:30 at Lecture Theatre 1

This China Centre Seminar (presented by Professor Vivienne Shue, University of Oxford) has been postponed until further notice.  

Phoenix out of the Ashes? ‘Cultural Reconstruction’ in the Ethnic Qiang Villages after the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake

Friday, 23 February, 13:00 - 14:00 at Seminar Room 1

Dr Zhang Qiaoyun will introduce the 'cultural reconstruction' project in the ethnic Qiang villages after the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake. Drawing on ethnographic explorations of disaster, culture, and state-ethnic relations, she will analyse and reflect on how ethnic culture can be properly considered in the state-led post-disaster recovery planning.       Dr Zhang Qiaoyun is a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (2017-2018, Leiden) and an Associate Researcher at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography of Oxford University. Her research interests include disaster anthropology, ethnic relations, and intangible cultural heritage safeguarding. Mandarin Presentation , English PPT,  Bilingual Q&A,   Sandwich Lunch Provided Convenor: Dr Annie Hongping Nie Open to all.  For catering purposes please sign up using the link below.  

How to Build Working Experiences into your Research Project

Friday, 23 February, 17:00 - 18:00 at Ho Tim Seminar Room

OCSS Fieldwork Seminar Series. 'How to Build Working Experiences into your Research Project: From the Foreign Diplomatic Force and Consultancy to the United Nations.' Speaker: Zhibo Qiu.

POSTPONED: ‘Did World War II in China matter?’

Monday, 26 February, 17:00 - 18:30 at Lecture Theatre 1

Hans van de Ven bookTHIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. China Centre Conversation: ‘Did World War II in China matter?” – with discussion of Hans van de Ven, China at War (2017) and Eugenie Buchan, A Few Planes for China (2017) Hans van de Ven, is Professor of Modern Chinese History, University of Cambridge       Dr Eugenie Buchan, is an Independent ScholarEugenie Buchan

Feasts, Alcohol and the Indescribable Sex Arena: In the Field with Entrepreneurs

Monday, 26 February, 17:00 - 18:00 at Ho Tim Seminar Room

OCSS Fieldwork Seminar Series. 'Feasts, Alcohol and the Indescribable Sex Arena: In the Field with Entrepreneurs.' Speaker: Ling Tang

Shades of Authoritarianism: State-Labour Relations in China

Thursday, 1 March, 17:00 - 18:30 at Lecture Theatre 1

Attempts to analyse authoritarianism in China tend towards a static focus on the state that is homogeneous across time. However, this presentation will argue that a more nuanced approach is needed if we are to capture the dynamism and contours of state- civil society relations, and state-labour relations in particular. Taking state-labour relations as a bellwether, this presentation will conceptualise ‘shades of authoritarianism’ as a framework for better understanding the complexities and evolution of state-society relations in China. It will be argued that different manifestations of pragmatic authoritarianism distinguish the Hu-Wen era (2002 to 2012) from the current regime of Xi Jinping. JudeHowellPortraitJude Howell is Professor of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE). She was Director of the ESRC Research Programme on Non-Governmental Public Action and former Director of the Centre for Civil Society at the LSE (2003-2010). She has written extensively on issues relating to civil society, development, security, gender and governance, and on China in particular. Her latest forthcoming book on China is 'NGOs and Accountability in China: Child Welfare Organisations'. She has been awarded an ESRC research grant for research into the 'Politics of Sub-contracting Welfare Services to NGOs in China'. She has conducted research in China, India, Mozambique, Kenya and Afghanistan. She is series editor of a new book series on Non-Governmental Public Action published by Palgrave Press, in which her book The Global War on Terror, Aid and Civil Society (with Jeremy Lind), 2009, appears. Her other recent books include Civil Society Under Strain: Counter-terrorism Policy, Civil Society and Aid post-9/11, 2010, Kumarian Press; Gender and Civil Society (co-edited with Diane Mulligan) 2005, Routledge; Civil Society and Development (co-authored with Jenny Pearce) 2002, Lynne Rienner Inc.; and Governance in China, 2004, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. With Gordon White and Shang Xiaoyuan she co-authored In Search of Civil Society. Market Reform and Social Change in Contemporary China, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1996. Her current research interests include welfare provision and non-governmental public action in China, the nature of Chinese aid, the securitisation of aid and civil society.    

Book Launch: Xu Bing 徐冰 in Conversation with Peter D. McDonald

Sunday, 4 March, 17:00 - 18:30 at Lecture Theatre 1

Drinks reception with nibbles
Space is limited, please Register for Free by Clicking Here
Generously supported by: Oxford Chinese Studies Society,
Oxford China Forum, China Centre, St Hugh’s College
Book launch: Artefacts of Writing: Ideas of the State and Communities of Letters from Matthew Arnold to Xu Bing by Peter D. McDonald.
In this public event, Professor McDonald will be in conversation with Xu Bing to talk about some of the book’s key ideas. The conversation will particularly focus on the relevance of these ideas to Xu Bing’s artistic practices, and vice versa. The event will be of interest to anyone working on world literature, contemporary art, contemporary China, Chinese art, and intercultural communication in general. The conversation will be approximately 40 minutes long, and plenty of time will be given to audience Q & A and discussions. Copies of Artefacts of Writing will be available for purchase at a discounted price at the event, and the readers are welcome to communicate with the speakers at the drinks reception before and after the event.
You can find out more about the book here:
Peter D. McDonald was born in Cape Town in 1964 and educated in South Africa and England. He writes on literature, the modern state and the freedom of expression; the history of writing systems, cultural institutions and publishing; multilingualism, translation and interculturality; and on the limits of literary criticism. His publications include British Literary Culture and Publishing Practice, 1888-1914 (1997), Making Meaning: 'Printers of the Mind' and Other Essays by D. F. McKenzie (2002), edited with Michael Suarez, and The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and its Cultural Consequences (2009). He is a Fellow of St Hugh's College and Professor of English and Related Literature at the University of Oxford. Xu Bing 徐冰 is one of China’s best-known artists, and his work has been exhibited in Asia, Australia,Europe, and the United States in various venues, including the Museum of Modern Art, New Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., the British Museum, and the National Gallery of Prague. Since 2008, he has acted as Vice President of Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts. One of his best known works, Book from the Sky 天書 (1987–1991), earned Xu international recognition in the 1990s. The work is a massive installation made up of hundreds of volumes and scrolls printed with 4,000 imagined Chinese characters, which were cut by hand into wood printing blocks. Xu’s use of a fabricated and therefore indecipherable lexicon suggests that written text may be an inherently deceptive mode of communication. His later works, such as Square Word Calligraphy, Background Story, and Book from the Ground, have continued to explore themes surrounding language and writing. In 1999, he was awarded a Genius Grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

Spies in East Asia

Monday, 5 March, 17:00 - 18:30 at Seminar Room 1

International History of East Asia Seminar. Amanda Zhang, University of Oxford: ‘Beauty is the Troubled Water That Brings Disasters: the Making of the Seductress Spy in Republican China, 1930-1949.’ Miriam Matejova, University of British Columbia: ‘Canada’s Spies: Intelligence, Foreign Policy, and the Western Humint Cooperation in the Far East.’  

POSTPONED: Where next for Asia, China and post-Brexit Britain?

Tuesday, 6 March, 17:00 - 18:30 at Lecture Theatre 1

EVENT POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE China Centre Conversation with: Syed Muntasir Mamun, Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh Bill Emmott, Former editor-in-chief, The Economist Stefania Palma, Asia Editor, The Banker (Financial Times)

DATE TO BE CONFIRMED: The Unbearable Discretion of Street-level Bureaucrats: Corruption and Collusion in Hong Kong

Thursday, 8 March, 17:00 - 18:30 at Lecture Theatre 1

 DATE OF SEMINAR TO BE CONFIRMED Hong Kong has gone from pervasively corrupt to the best example of effective anti-corruption programs after 1974, and most recently to widespread concerns about collusion and corruption convictions at the top of the government.  The discussion examines these transformations, focusing on the role of informal processes operating within government, and how the consequences of policies may be very different from those intended.  The colonial government believed that the problem resulted from the discretion of junior officials, and anti-corruption involved efforts to reduce this discretion, but more broadly to change the 'rules of the game'.  A case study of boat squatters in the 1960s reveal this worldview, the operation of corruption rackets, and efforts to reduce these problems through setting clear procedures.  Yet, formal procedures can reduce the risks involved in profiting from public office, in ways that are often seen by the public as illicit even when formally legal.  Precise formalization of what counts as corrupt allows opportunistic rent-seekers to skirt closely to the limits while being safely on the legal side.  Sharp boundaries between corrupt and non-corrupt offer great possibilities for gaming the system.  Even when legal, collusion can be as damaging or worse than corruption. Alan Smart (PhD, U of Toronto, 1986) is Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Calgary.  His research has focused on urban issues, housing, foreign investment, social change, food safety, zoonotic diseases, and agriculture in Hong Kong, China and Canada.  He is author of Making Room:  Squatter Clearance in Hong Kong (Hong Kong:  Hong Kong University Press, 1992); Petty capitalists and globalization (co-edited with Josephine Smart, SUNY Press, 2005); The Shek Kip Mei Myth: Squatters, Fires and Colonial Rule in Hong Kong, 1950-1963 (Hong Kong University Press, 2006); Posthumanism: Anthropological Insights (co-authored with Josephine Smart, U Toronto Press, 2017) and numerous articles in journals and edited volumes. Caption for picture: Annual campaign from 1957 to educate the public about not giving 'gifts' to officials

Mandarin Forum

Friday, 9 March, 13:00 - 14:00 at Seminar Room 1

To be confirmed

Thoughts on the Book of Ritual Paraphernalia in the Qing Dynasty

Friday, 9 March, 17:00 - 18:00 at Ho Tim Seminar Room

OCSS Fieldwork Seminar Series. 'Working Through the Archives: Thoughts on the Book of Ritual Paraphernalia in the Qing Dynasty.' Speaker: Yiyang Gao.