Susan Liebell

Aug 10, 2020


A Deep Dive on China

New Books Network 2020

Todays begins a new set of podcasts from New Books in Political Science called POSTSCRIPT. Lilly Goren and I invite authors back to the podcast to react to contemporary political developments that engage their scholarship.

In a podcast devoted to the concerning political developments in China, four scholars -- from political science, history, and particle physics(!) -- provide insights into the devastating effects of new security laws in Hong Kong, the nuances of China’s censorship and surveillance, the essential connection between science and politics, distinguishing racism and geo-political threat, resisting self-censorship, and genocidal atrocities against the Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Recorded on July 30, 2020, the podcast provides a primer for those who have not had the bandwidth to follow the developments in China but also a chance for specialists to hear an interdisciplinary panel of top scholars bring their research expertise to contemporary events that evolve each day. All of these scholars have recent articles in outlets that we commonly access like The Guardian and the New York Times. Links to both their popular public and scholarly work are provided below for all readers (and students!) -- and also their generous recommendations of other great sources of insights on Chinese politics and U.S.-China relations.

Dr. Yangyang Cheng is an accomplished particle physicist, postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University, and member of the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. Yangyang recommends the Chinese Storytellers newsletter and work from the Lausan collective both of which were featured in E. Tammy Kim’s recent essay in Columbia Journalism Review “Transnationally Asian.” She also recommends journalist Mara Hvistendahl’s new book, The Scientist and the Spy: A True Story of China, the FBI, and Industrial Espionage (Riverhead, 2020), which she reviewed in her SupChina column in May.

Dr. James Millward is Professor of Inter-societal History in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Regarding atrocities in Xinjiang, Jim recommends a recent summary on John Oliver's Last Week Tonight . Millward' most recent op-ed essay, on Xinjiang and US-China relations suggests targeted sanctions and practical approaches, rather than the Trump administration's broad and blunt demonization of China. Keep an eye out for his forthcoming article in Brookings' Global China series, co-authored with Dahlia Peterson, on technology and tech companies involvement in the surveillance / internment regime in Xinjiang. The statement on academic freedom by the Association for Asia Studies is also recommended.

Margaret Roberts is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute at the University of California, San Diego. Molly recommends following Weiboscope and Citizen Lab for emerging censorship news on China and beyond. Her new piece in the Annual Review of Political Science, “Resilience to Online Censorship” summarizes what the literature in political science has to say about when people are most resistant to censorship. In the podcast, she mentions a new paper by Yingjie Fan, Jennifer Pan, Zijie Shao and Yiqing Xu, which argues that experiences with racism decreases support for democracy among Chinese students studying in the U.S., summarized by Pan and Xu in the Washington Post, here.

Dr. Jeffrey Wasserstrom is the Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. Jeff recommends the poems, twitter feed @myetcetera, and many editorial projects of Hong Konger Tammy Ho, including her new piece on Hong Kong Protesting; the new documentary film "Denise Ho: Becoming the Song" (for which the superb anthropologist Helen F. Siu did crucially important off-camera work and Jeffrey Ngo (a graduate student working with Jim who is also worth following on Twitter @jeffreychngo) did impressive on screen commentary; and a recent essay that deals with both Hong Kong and Taiwan, by Catherine Chou and Gina Tam.

Benjamin Warren assisted with this podcast.

Susan Liebell is associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She is the author of Democracy, Intelligent Design, and Evolution: Science for Citizenship (Routledge, 2013) and, most recently, Retreat from the Rule of Law: Locke and the Perils of Stand Your Ground” in the Journal of Politics (August 2020). Follow her on Twitter @SusanLiebell.

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Susan Liebell

Susan Liebell is Dirk Warren '50 Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

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