|Please join us for a book talk with Orville Schell on China's ascent from imperial doormat to global economic powerhouse.|
8/1/2013 (Thursday) - Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-First Century
Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism, Annenberg Auditorium
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Time: 4:00 - 5:30PM
Free, please click here to RSVP.
The basic facts of China's rise to preeminence over the past three decades are well documented, but how did this erstwhile sleeping giant finally manage to arrive at its current phase of dynamic growth? How, after such a long and painful period of dynastic decline, intellectual upheaval and revolution, foreign occupation and civil war, did a country once derided as the "sick man of Asia" manage to break out of its old pattern of repeatedly failed reform efforts to burst forth onto the world stage with such an impressive run of hyperdevelopment and wealth creation?
By examining the lives of eleven influential officials, writers, activists, and leaders whose contributions helped create modern China, Wealth and Power addresses these questions. This survey begins in the lead-up to the first Opium War with Wei Yuan, the nineteenth-century scholar and reformer who was one of the first to urge China to borrow ideas from the West. It concludes in our time with human-rights advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, an outspoken opponent of single-party rule. Along the way, we meet such titans of Chinese history as the Empress Dowager Cixi, public intellectuals Feng Guifen, Liang Qichao, and Chen Duxiu, Nationalist stalwarts Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, and Communist Party leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Zhu Rongji.
The common goal that unites all of these disparate figures is their determined pursuit of fuqiang 富 强, shorthand for "wealth and power." This abiding quest for a restoration of national greatness in the face of a "century of humiliation" at the hands of the Great Powers came to define the modern Chinese character. It's what drove both Mao and Deng to embark on root-and-branch transformations of Chinese society, first by means of Marxism-Leninism, then by authoritarian capitalism. And this determined quest remains the key to understanding many of China''s actions today.
By unwrapping the intellectual antecedents of today's resurgent China, Orville Schell and John Delury supply much-needed insight into the country''s tortured progression from nineteenth-century decline to twenty-first-century boom. By looking backward into the past to understand forces at work for hundreds of years, they help us understand China today and the future that this singular country is helping shape for all of us.
About the Author: Orville Schell, author of more than a dozen books, studied Chinese history at Harvard and Berkeley and has written for many publications, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Time, Foreign Affairs,The New York Review of Books, Harper's, and The New York Times. Formerly the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, he is currently the Arthur Ross Director of the Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations in New York City. Schell is a member of the USC U.S.-China Institute''s board of scholars.