East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

November 7, 2010
by campus
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Nov. 16 Workshop

Workshop on East Asia:
Politics, Economy and Society Presents

“Protests with Chinese Characteristics, Past and Present”

Ho-fung Hong
Professor in Sociology, Director of the Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business
Indiana University-Bloomington

4:00-5:30pm, Tuesday
November 16, 2010
Pick Lounge
5828 South University Ave.

Abstract:
The origin of political modernity has long been associated with the Western history of protest and revolution, which supposedly sparked popular dissent worldwide. Reviewing nearly one thousand instances of protest in China from the eighteenth to the early-nineteenth centuries, this study charts an evolution of Chinese dissent that stands apart from Western trends of the same period, tying China’s modern protest more tightly to its Confucianist legacy and distinct history. It shows how centralization of political power and an expanding market, coupled with a persistent Confucianist orthodoxy, shaped protesters’ strategies and appeals in Qing China. The unique form of mid-Qing protest combined a quest for justice and autonomy with a filial-loyal respect for the imperial center, and continues to influence popular protest in China today. The characteristics of these protests prove late imperial China was anything but a stagnant and tranquil empire before being cracked open. This research shows the origins of modern popular politics in China predate the 1911 Revolution. It also establishes a framework that compares popular protest among different cultural fabrics.

Ho-fung Hung is assistant professor of sociology and associate director of the Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business at Indiana University-Bloomington. He is the editor of China and the Transformation of Global Capitalism.

Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/
Student coordinator: Jean Lin (jeanlin@uchicago.edu)
Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang and Dingxin Zhao
The workshop is sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance, please contact the student coordinator in advance.