East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

February 21, Dingxin Zhao, “Social change of the Longue Duree”


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society presents

 Social Change of the Longue Duree: A theory and its application”

Dingxin Zhao

Max Palevsky Professor, Department of Sociology

University of Chicago

4:30-6:00p.m., Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

*Light refreshments will be served*


This talk presents a general theory of social change proposed in my new book “Confucian-Legalist State.” The theory is based on the premise that human nature has political, ideological, territorial and economic aspects, and humans compete for dominance and try to institutionalize the gains along these aspects. The bulk of the theory is to analyze how each of the four aspects of human nature has given rise to distinctive mechanisms and institutions shaping the contours of history. The empirical implications of the theory will be illustrated by the patterns of the world history, particularly the premodern history of China and Europe. More specifically, I will try to explain why China was able to achieve a unified and bureaucratic empire in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE), and why the imperial/cultural structure emerging during the Qin and Han Dynasties showed great resilience, despite the challenges brought by nomadic conquests, population growth, technological changes, commercial growth, the rise of new ideas and religions, up until the rise of the West in the 19th century.

About the Speaker

Professor Dingxin Zhao is Max Palevsky Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. He is interested in political sociology broadly defined, as well as comparative historical sociology, sociology of emotion, ecological sociology, sociological theory and methodology. Prof. Zhao is the author of The Power of Tiananmen: State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement, and most recently: The Confucian-Legalist State: A New Theory of Chinese History.  Prof. Zhao holds a B.A. from Fudan University, a Ph.D. in Entomology and also a Ph.D. in Sociology from McGill University.

* To learn more about our Winter program, please look at: Winter Schedule


Faculty sponsors:

Xi Song (Sociology), Dali Yang (Political Science), and Dingxin Zhao (Sociology)

The East Asia Workshop is sponsored by 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.



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