Talks and lectures

The Impact of Family ‘Mobility’ on the Mental Health of Adolescents in China

Friday, 24 May, 13:00 - 14:00 at Lucina Ho Seminar Room

Mandarin Forum. Since the 1990s, with the gradual relaxation of China's population mobility policy, the floating population has increased rapidly, reaching 240 million by 2017. About 65% of children aged 0-17 of migrant families are moving with their parents, accounting for 12.8% of all children living in China. It is worth noting that a significant proportion of today's migrant children were born and grew up in the city.  For them, ‘mobility’ is no longer a simple concept of spatial transfer, but more anxiety due to the  non-local household registration and the dilemma of ‘flow’ or ‘stay’.  What is the impact of ‘mobility’ on their mental health?  Are they more vulnerable groups or more resilient?  The talk is based on the project entitled Mental Health of Migrant Children and Adolescents and Family-based Intervention and Countermeasures, which is supported by the China National Social Science Fund (13BRK009).  Guided by the ecosystem theory, this study uses survey and interview data collected from Shanghai and Sichuan, examining the effect of family situation and social environment on the mental health of the migrant children who reside in the cities. Dr Zhening XU is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Sociology, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and an Academic Visitor at University of Oxford China Centre. She is currently conducting a project on migrant children mental health and social support, funded by the China Scholarship Council (CSC). Her research interests include mental health, parenting, gender equality and family policy. Mandarin presentation; bilingual PPT. Convenor: Dr Annie Hongping Nie

An Ethnography of State Language Governance in Relation to Zhuang Minority Language in China

Monday, 27 May, 13:00 - 14:00 at Lucina Ho Seminar Room

This presentation highlights some key arguments from Dr Grey's forthcoming book, Language Rights in a Changing China. Her 2013-2017 study traced the PRC’s longstanding constitutional minority language protection through various legal instruments and along their trajectory into practice and social reception, using a combination of legal analysis and empirical, sociolinguistic analysis, with a case study of Zhuang, the most-spoken official minority language in the PRC. The talk takes as an entry point the recent regulatory intervention to increase and standardise Zhuang-Mandarin bilingual signage in the capital of the Guangxi Zhuangzu Autonomous Region, explaining how this conflicts with patterns of language display, and how it was received by Zhuang speakers. This intervention calls into question general assumptions underpinning language policy about the goals achieved by displaying minority languages. Finally, Dr Grey examines how the legal nature of the constitutional protection of minority languages, the complicated organisation of the state’s responsibility and power to manage Zhuang, and the language ideologies in the legal framework are limiting, and causing disjunctions between, language governance efforts. Alexandra Grey is a Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Sydney.

Rethinking Class in Interwar China and Japan

Monday, 27 May, 17:00 - 18:30 at Lucina Ho Seminar Room

International History of East Asia seminar.  Jamyung Choi, Yanbian University: ‘The Invented Average: University Graduates as a Middle Class in Interwar Japan’. Peter Kwok-Fai Law, SOAS, University of London: ‘Strugglers in the Corporatist State: Maritime Teaboys and the Making of Chinese Working Class Culture in Republican China, 1933–1937’.

Great Achievements, Big Failures: How to Evaluate the Social Changes of the Mao Era

Tuesday, 28 May, 17:00 - 18:30 at the Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre

In the Mao Era (1949–1976), millions of Chinese people experienced social upward mobility, while others were marginalized or lost their lives. Efforts to build a communist society created hopes, dreams, fear, enthusiasm, disillusion, painful disappointments and nostalgia. The Chinese people made great strides, but they also experienced traumatic setbacks. The talk will discuss the achievements and failures related to economic growth, access to basic entitlements, and social mobility and change. Furthermore, the question will be discussed how we are to judge success. On the question of progress in human rights, should we confine ourselves to the CCP’s own goals, or should we instead stress today’s accepted metrics, such as the UN’s Human Development Index? Should we compare the Mao era to pre-1949 Republican China, to the relatively peaceful Nanjing Decade under the GMD before the Sino-Japanese War (1928–1937), to the progress of Taiwan after 1949 or to developments in the Reform era since 1978? Felix Wemheuer is Professor for Modern China Studies at the University of Cologne. He belongs to a new generation of Western scholars who are rewriting the history of Maoist China. His publications include Famine Politics in Maoist China and the Soviet Union (Yale UP 2014) and A Social History of Maoist China: Conflict and Change, 1949-1976 (Cambridge UP 2019). Between 2008 and 2010, he was a visiting scholar at the Fairbank Center at Harvard University.

Making the Vigilant Citizens: Gender and Surveillance in China

Thursday, 30 May, 17:00 - 18:30 at the Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre

Known as 'Chaoyang Masses' (chaoyang qunzhong) or Westside Mama (xicheng dama) in popular media, community volunteers are widely reported to have caught drug addicts or exposed underground brothels for the police in the capital of China. Community volunteers are mostly retired women who perform street patrolling in residential neighborhoods. According to official statistics, there are close to two hundred thousand of them in Beijing. Many would call them grassroots governing agents for the party state but grannies themselves speak of their service in terms of contribution and honour. Based on various media representations of these grannies, Ka-ming Wu's own interviews with them, and some netizens online discussion,  she explores the interplay between gender, the surveillance state, and mobilization of elderly citizens. Ka-ming Wu asks how different players, including the police department and television channels, often normalize the discourse of security and public order through narratives of gender, race and age. This talk is based on a broader project Ka-ming Wu is conducting on volunteers and urban identities in China. She hopes to understand how volunteering is complexly constitutive to emerging public cultural values, gender and class subjectivities, and nationalist belongings in today’s China. Ka-ming Wu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is currently a visiting fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, she has taken up extensive ethnographic research to examine the cultural politics of state and society, waste, and most recently, gender and nationalism in contemporary China. Her book  Reinventing Chinese Tradition: The Cultural Politics of Late Socialism (UIP 2015) argues how the nature of cultural production in rural China today can be thought in terms of a 'hyper folk', in which ritual practices, performances, heritage, craft productions, and other reenactments of the traditional can no longer be viewed as either simulations or authentic originals, but a field where a whole range of social contests and changes are being negotiated. Her co-authored book Feiping Shenghuo: Lajichang De Jingji, Shequn Yu Kongjian (CUHK 2016) (Living with Waste: Economies, Communities and Spaces of Waste Collectors in China) has had a great impact on the public discussion of waste and has received much attention from the media.

CHEW Conference 2019 on ‘Chinese Techno-Futures’ – 31 May and 1 June

Friday, 31 May, 10:15 - 17:30 at the Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre

The China Health, Welfare and Environment (CHEW) network cordially invite you to participate in our two-day 2019 conference on 'Chinese techno-futures'. http://chewoxford.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/CHEW-2019-Conference-Programme.pdf The conference will take place over two days on May 31 and June 1 2019 at St Antony's College (opening keynote) and the University of Oxford China Centre (afternoon, day one; morning and afternoon, day two). The opening keynote addresses from Professor Susan Greenhalgh (Harvard University) will address the role of artificial intelligence in new forms of techno-scientific governance. Panels will focus on environmental governance, the role of technology in health and welfare, urban futures, and rural transitions, and feature a broad range of scholars from China, Europe, and the UK. Keynote addresses and panel sessions are open to everyone, free of charge, and we welcome people to attend as many or as few as they would like. We also encourage scholars and students that are not specialists on China to attend. Registration is not required, but we encourage you to express your interest and spread the word on the Facebook event page below. https://www.facebook.com/events/2155791667836295/ The conference is supported by the The China Health, Welfare and Environment (CHEW) network cordially invite you to participate in our 2019 conference on Chinese 'techno-futures'. http://chewoxford.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/CHEW-2019-Conference-Programme.pdf The conference will take place over two days on May 31 and June 1 2019 at St Antony's College (opening keynote) and the University of Oxford China Centre (afternoon, day one; morning and afternoon, day two). Keynote addresses from Professor Susan Greenhalgh (Harvard University) and Professor Luigi Tomba (University of Sydney) will address the role of artificial intelligence in new forms of techno-scientific governance, and continuity and change in Chinese projects of utopian urbanism. Panels will focus on environmental governance, the role of technology in health and welfare, urban futures, and rural transitions, and feature a broad range of scholars from China, Europe, and the UK. Keynote addresses and panel sessions are open to everyone, free of charge, and we welcome people to attend as many or as few as they would like. We also encourage scholars and students that are not specialists on China to attend. Registration is not required, but we encourage you to express your interest and spread the word on the Facebook event page below. https://www.facebook.com/events/2155791667836295/ The conference is supported by the University of Oxford China Centre, the Oxford School of Geography and the Environments's Economy and Society, Political Worlds, and Technological Life research clusters, as well as the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, the ESRC and St Antony's College.

National Security, Free Trade Agreements and Investment – the Case of China

Thursday, 6 June, 17:00 - 18:30 at the Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre

'National security' has always played a role in foreign direct investment decisions.  Large-scale Chinese investment has, however, served to highlight the question of what the concept involves, as developed countries, the traditional outbound investors, extend or rethink their approach to foreign acquisitions.  But is it – or should it be – a concept of unlimited flexibility?  In discussing this question, this talk will consider a number of aspects of 'national security' in the context of Chinese outbound investment and investment into China.  In particular, it will examine what 'national security' means to China in relation to activities within China, particularly investment and what it means to foreign governments when Chinese companies go abroad: that is, in what way does Chinese investment in particular threaten the national interest or security of a western country?  It will also consider in what way and to what extent national security concerns constitute an exception from commitments made to and by China in its free trade and investment treaties and, in particular, whether states have unlimited discretion to define the term. Vivienne Bath is Professor of Chinese and International Business Law at Sydney Law School and Director of the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the University of Sydney.  Her teaching and research interests are in international business and economic law, private international law and Chinese law.  She has first class honours in Chinese and in Law from the Australian National University, and an LLM from Harvard Law School.  She has also studied in China and Germany and has extensive professional experience in Sydney, New York and Hong Kong, specialising in international commercial law, with a focus on foreign investment and commercial transactions in China and the Asian region. Co-hosted with the Chinese Law Discussion Group

The Socialization of Anti-corruption in China

Friday, 7 June, 13:00 - 14:00 at Lucina Ho Seminar Room

Mandarin Forum. In recent years, China has launched a vigorous anti-corruption campaign, which is mainly manifested in the severe punishment of crimes of corruption through judicial organs. However, the Chinese government has failed in producing effective measures to prevent corruption. Dr Zou illustrates this phenomenon from China's history of anti-corruption, the status-quo, and useful attempts emerging in the current society. She suggests that corruption is a social issue and the anti-corruption effectiveness should be undertaken by the whole society. Dr Jiaming Zou, Senior Partner and Director of the Criminal Defence Research Center at King & Capital Law Firm, specializes in criminal defence, especially in finance-related areas. She received a PhD in Law from Wuhan University and conducted postdoctoral research at the College of Criminal Law Science, Beijing Normal University, where she published more than 20 professional essays and served as a key member at the G20 Anti-Corruption Pursuit and Recovery Center. She was also an Academic Visitor at University of Oxford in Hilary Term 2019. Mandarin Presentation; bilingual PPT. Convenor: Dr Annie Hongping Nie

Book launch event

Friday, 7 June, 17:00 - 18:30 at the Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre

Tales of Hope, Tastes of Bitterness: Chinese Road Builders in Ethiopia by Miriam Driessen and China’s Urban Champions: The Politics of Spatial Development by Kyle Jaros, University of Oxford.  

The Strength of Weak Institutions: Communist Party Cells in Private Firms in China

Monday, 10 June, 17:00 - 18:30 at the Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre

This talk will discuss the goals, functions, and consequences of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cells in private firms in Guangdong Province, one of China’s vibrant manufacturing hubs. Since 2012, the central government has encouraged local party branches to establish party cells in the private sector. Using firm-level interviews, survey research, and official documents, Mary Gallagher  finds that there is quite a disjuncture between the stated goals of the policy and their actualized role thus far. Because of the Party’s weak organizational base in the private sector, party cells often need to rely on the enterprise trade-union branch, borrowing resources and institutional power in order to function. In a rather contradictory way, the externally much stronger organization, the CCP, needs to rely on the externally much weaker institution, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). Gallagher explores how this inverted relationship affects party activists, working conditions, and relations with enterprise managers and owners. Mary E. Gallagher is the Amy and Alan Lowenstein Professor of Democracy, Democratization, and Human Rights Professor 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 PhD in politics in 2001 from Princeton University and her BA from Smith College in 1991. She was a foreign student in China in 1989 at Nanjing University. She also taught at the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing, 1996-7. She was a Fulbright Research Scholar, 2003-4, at East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai, China. In 2012-13, she was a visiting professor at the Koguan School of Law at Shanghai Jiaotong University. Her most recent book is Authoritarian Legality in China: Law, Workers and the State, published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. She is also the author or editor of several other books, including Contagious Capitalism: Globalization and the Politics of Labor in China (Princeton 2005), Chinese Justice: Civil Dispute Resolution in Contemporary China (Cambridge 2011), From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization: Markets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China (Cornell 2011), and Contemporary Chinese Politics: New Sources, Methods, and Field Strategies (Cambridge 2010).  

Unpacking Farmers’ Cognition of Land Usufruct in China’s Urban Periphery: A Behavioural Institutionalist Perspective

Thursday, 13 June, 17:00 - 18:30 at the Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre

Many have studied farmland tenure in the post-reform China from a policy making perspective. Yet, the farmers’ cognitions of their land property rights are seldom examined from a policy-taker’s point of view. To fill this gap in the literature, Yiming Wang intends to share some statistical findings and according interpretations, based on a questionnaire survey of 1,209 farmer households around 12 cities in mainland China. Yiming Wang is currently a senior lecturer (associate professor) and programme director of MSc Public Policy based in the School for Policy Studies and Centre for Urban and Public Policy Research at the University of Bristol. He received his PhD in 2011 from the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California in the USA. He also holds a Master in Applied Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo in Canada and Bachelor in Economics from Fudan University in China. Yiming’s academic interest is mainly in economic and social policies relating to the urban built environment, including land use, housing, transport infrastructure, and commercial property development. His research work involves the application of both quantitative and qualitative methods, featuring an international comparative perspective and the use of geographic information systems (GIS) to analyse empirical data for public policy research.

Early Twentieth Century Shanghai as a Test Case for Hernando de Soto

Friday, 14 June, 13:00 - 14:00 at Lucina Ho Seminar Room

Chinese Law Discussion Group 'Early Twentieth Century Shanghai as a Test Case for Hernando de Soto Polar’s View of Property Law'. Tahirih Lee, Associate Professor, Florida State University

Cultures of Occupation in Beijing and Hong Kong

Monday, 17 June, 17:00 - 18:30 at Lucina Ho Seminar Room

International History of East Asia Seminar.  L. Odila Schröder, University of Nottingham: ‘Treasonous Repertoires? Performing “Greater East Asia” in Occupied Beijing (1937–1945)’. Vivien Chan, University of Nottingham: ‘Assembled in the Street: Hawkers and Spatial Occupation in the 1950s–1980s Hong Kong’.

China’s Justice System: A View from Inside

Tuesday, 18 June, 17:00 - 18:30 at the Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre

Fraud investigator and former journalist Peter Humphrey provides a briefing on his ordeal in the clutches of China’s judicial system and prisons. In 2013, he and his wife were detained in China and charged with 'illegally acquiring personal information' after being hired by the pharma corporation GSK to probe an alleged smear campaign against it, but soon found themselves embroiled in a much larger drama. He was paraded on state TV, forced to stand trial and sentenced to 30 months. Their nightmare in the Chinese prison system would last two years. In his first talk at Oxford, Peter recounts this ordeal as a living example of China’s ‘judicial process’ and as a starting point for a discussion on China’s rule of law. A British citizen, Peter Humphrey  was the founder of ChinaWhys, a risk management practice that specialised in China fraud prevention for corporate clients until it was shut down by Shanghai police in 2013. He holds 1st class honours in Chinese Studies from Durham University and is an external fellow of Harvard’s Fairbank Center and King’s College London. Involved with China for over 40 years, his career has spanned the fields of academia, journalism and corporate investigation, and the geographies of China, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Before entering business he spent two decades as a foreign correspondent with Reuters, which he exited in 1998 after covering Hong Kong’s return to China. He then served as China country manager for the American sleuthing consultancy Kroll and as head of China investigations at PwC, and later operated his own due diligence firm ChinaWhys for 10 years.  

The Qièyùn Manuscripts before the Emergence of the Guǎngyùn Dictionary

Thursday, 20 June, 17:00 - 18:30 at the Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre

An early version of the Qièyùn切韻was compiled by Lù Fǎyán陸法言(581?-618?) in 601. As the famous Preface to this work makes beautifully clear, this was a labour of love, written in memory of a good time that had been had together with a number of specialists in matters of the different pronunciation of Chinese. Being the first known work making an effort to create a unity for the language by providing pronunciations for Chinese characters and classifying them under tones, rhymes and initials, it holds an important place for autochthonous linguistics in a broad sense. If there ever was one 'original Qieyun' then that Qièyùn was certainly lost long ago. But we now possess different versions discovered in Dūnhuáng and Turfan, at the beginning of the 20th century, of what could be Lù Fǎyán’s text, as well as some enlarged or annotated versions. A detailed analysis of these fragmentary manuscripts will first provide a better understanding of the nature of the original Qièyùn. It will help us grasp the main differences between the original Qièyùn and later versions such as Kānmiù bǔquē Qièyùn 刊謬補缺切韻 (706), and Guǎngyùn 廣韻 (1008), as well as the differences between words, pronunciations and characters’ dictionaries.  Françoise Bottéro shall discuss problems concerning the consequences of taking the Qièyùn as representing the 'ancient language', for the study of Chinese modern languages, before eventually discussing the original approach the Qièyùn offers for the study of manuscripts. Compared to many other manuscripts dating from earlier periods, we know the author and the precise date when Qièyùn was compiled, yet we can find a wide production of manuscripts baring the same title. The Qièyùns can therefore offer useful insights into the ontogenesis of early Chinese lexicographic works and the transformation of a scholarly labour of love into Examination System handbooks. Françoise Bottéro, is a research fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) director of the Center for Linguistic Research on East Asian languages (CRLAO) in Paris. A specialist of the history and analysis of the Chinese writing system, from ancient times to modern days, she has been exploring the particularities of the Chinese script related to its semantico-phonetic nature such as graphic variants or tabooed characters. Her work includes a book, Sémantisme et classification, analysing the history and development of the original system of classification of the characters into « radicals », a book in collaboration with Christoph Harbsmeier, Chinese Lexicography on Matters of the Heart: An exploratory commentary on the heart radical in Shuō wén jiě zì 說文解字 (2016), different studies on early lexicogaphic works, the earliest Chinese theories on the script, legends concerning the invention of writing in China as well as some terminological problems.  

Mandarin Forum

Friday, 21 June, 13:00 - 14:00 at Lucina Ho Seminar Room

Details to be confirmed.

Deciphering the Uncertain: Sociological & Epistemological Aspects of Divination in Early Text Cultures – 24 + 25 June

Monday, 24 June, 09:30 - 17:30 at the Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre

Deciphering the Uncertain: Sociological & Epistemological Aspects of Divination in Early Text Cultures   The two-day conference aims to present a comparative appraisal of the structural features underpinning a human universal concern, uncertainty. This concern was commonly expressed in early text cultures through divinatory practices. For the purposes of this conference, divination will be understood as an activity devoted to uncovering the hidden significance of events and signs, with the latter being either directly observed in nature or deliberately obtained. We intend to broaden the widely accepted concept of divination as the mere act of foretelling the future. Such mantic activities may include, but need not be limited to, communication with transcendent realities conceived both as divine beings or as universal cosmic order. Our investigation will focus on early text cultures, defined as pre-modern cultural contexts whose mantic practices can be reconstructed through the aid of written texts and archaeological material. In particular, we are keen to explore the importance of texts such as divination manuals, almanacs, oracular procedure and prescriptive texts, divination records or archives, and the close correlation between transmitted and excavated sources. Conceived as an up-to-date, comprehensive overview of divination in early text cultures, the conference will feature contributions of both leading scholars in the field and young researchers. Our confirmed key-note speakers will be Prof. Matthias Hayek (Paris Diderot), Prof. Bernhard Maier (Tübingen), Prof. Robert Parker (Oxford), Prof. William F. Ryan (Warburg Institute), Prof. Federico Santangelo (Newcastle), and Prof. Kenneth G. Zysk (København). The participants will deal with issues related to ancient religion, philosophy and anthropology in a broad cross-cultural perspective. So please come along and join us for this exciting event! For the full program and further information about the conference, please refer to the website and the Facebook event pages: http://decipheringtheuncertain.weebly.com/ http://www.facebook.com/events/1053056094884191/