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Roundtable Talk: China Today; Socialist, Capitalist, or Both?

Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

Orozco Room, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall 66 West 12th Street, Room A712, New York, NY 10011

The question as to whether today’s China is socialist, capitalist or both remains politically provoking and intellectually challenging. The post-Mao China has come to embody a contradictory role as the motor of global capitalism and a self-proclaimed socialist alternative. China’s self-positioning in the globe is defined by how to understand the continuities and discontinuities between socialism and capitalism. The roundtable talk explores the transformation of Chinese socialism and its social, economic, and political consequences. Roundtable panelists include China Studies scholars Prof. Mark Frazier and Benjamin Lee from The New School for Social Research (NSSR), Prof. Jonathan Bach and Prof. Lei Ping from The New School for Public Engagement (NSPE).

Mark Frazier 

Mark Frazier is Professor of Politics and Co-Academic Director of the India China Institute. He joined the New School in 2012 after five years at the University of Oklahoma, where he held an endowed position in Chinese Politics and served as the Chair of the Department of International and Area Studies. His research focus is on labor and social policies in China, and more broadly on state-society relations, urban politics, inequality, and public policy. He is the author of Socialist Insecurity: Pensions and the Politics of Uneven Development in China(Cornell University Press 2010) and The Making of the Chinese Industrial Workplace (Cambridge University Press 2002). He has published articles in Asia PolicyStudies in Comparative International Development, and The China Journal. He has also contributed op-eds to The New York Times and The Diplomat.

Jonathan Bach 

Jonathan Bach is Chair of the interdisciplinary Global Studies undergraduate program and Associate Professor of International Affairs at The New School in New York. His work explores the intersection of culture and politics, with a focus on how micro-level practices reformulate received notions of sovereignty, space, and identity. Current research concerns the material legacies of socialism in Germany, urban appropriations of space and identity in Shenzhen, China, and neoliberal geographies of globalization, particularly the proliferation of economic zones. His most recent book Learning From Shenzhen was published in 2016. He has also written on information technology and organizational change, labor migration and citizenship, and political theory. His articles have appeared in Cultural Anthropology, Theory, Culture & Society, Cultural Politics, Public Culture, Studies in Comparative and International Development, and Geopolitics, among others, and he is the author of Between Sovereignty and Integration: German Foreign Policy and National Identity after 1989. Bach received his PhD in Political Science from the Maxwell School, Syracuse University and has held post-doctoral fellowships at Columbia University (ISERP) and Harvard University (Center for European Studies), where he was also a faculty affiliate 2010-2012, and visiting positions at Brown University’s Watson Institute, Columbia University, the Center for Literary and Cultural Studies in Berlin and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Studies at the University of Hamburg. 

Host: Lei Ping

Lei Ping is an Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies at The New School and Faculty Advisor at India China Institute. She received her PhD in East Asian Studies at New York University. She launched the first field-based New School Summer Study Abroad program in Shanghai in 2013. Her research focuses on contemporary Chinese cities and cultural politics, urban land policies in socialist and post-socialist economic development, as well as middle class and consumption of space in China and India. She has written on the everyday life and the socialist project of “remolding” the Shanghai national bourgeoisie in the Mao era. She is particularly interested in the question of the formation, discourse of struggle, and the socio-political role of the middle classes in Chinese and Indian creative economies, and the shifting tensions and relations between the middle classes and the state apparatus in the post-Mao and post-liberalization eras in China and India. Her recent fieldwork engages research topics such as spatial consumption, life-styles, and pastime of the middle classes in the emerging creative economies in Shanghai and New Delhi. Her forthcoming book is titled as Figures of Capital in Post-1949 Shanghai.

Sponsored by the Department of Foreign Languages, School of Languages

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