Maria Adele Carrai and Jennifer Rudolph, "The China Questions 2: Critical Insights Into US-China Relations" (Harvard UP, 2022)


For decades Americans have described China as a rising power. That description no longer fits: China has already risen. What does this mean for the U.S.–China relationship? For the global economy and international security?

In this conversation, Julie Yu-Wen Chen, Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Helsinki discusses with Maria Adele Carrai from New York University Shanghai. Maria Adele Carrai is co-creator of a website called Mapping Global China. She recently co-edited “The China Questions 2: Critical Insights into US-China Relations” (Harvard University Press, 2022) with Jennifer Rudolph and Michzel Szonyi to offer essential insights into the many dimensions of the world’s most important bilateral relationship between the US and China. The voices included in The China Questions 2 recognize that the U.S.–China relationship has changed, and that the policy of engagement needs to change too. But they argue that zero-sum thinking is not the answer. Much that is good for one society is good for both—we are facing not another Cold War but rather a complex and contextually rooted mixture of conflict, competition, and cooperation that needs to be understood on its own terms.

One unique feature of this book is that it even includes discussion of Chinese literature. In this episode, Maria Adele Carrai read a short passage from Xudong Zhang’s chapter, illuminating how Chinese writers, with “their freedom, irreverence, and subversiveness undermine the suffocating (self-)censorship, stifling conformism and the formulaic media coverage. Like a spinning gyro rotating on an invisible axis, their work points to an aesthetically determined North Star, constant and free-standing, all the while attentive to and capable of absorbing the sound and fury, sighs, and laughter around this single-minded movement (Zhang, page 393).

Julie Yu-Wen Chen is Professor of Chinese Studies at the Department of Cultures at the University of Helsinki (Finland). Dr. Chen serves as one of the editors of the Journal of Chinese Political Science (Springer, SSCI). Formerly, she was chair of Nordic Association of China Studies (NACS) and Editor-in-Chief of Asian Ethnicity (Taylor & Francis). You can find her on University of Helsinki Chinese Studies’ website, Youtube and Facebook, and her personal Twitter.

The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, and Asianettverket at the University of Oslo.

We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.

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Julie Yu-Wen Chen

Julie Yu-Wen Chen is Professor of Chinese Studies at the Department of Cultures at the University of Helsinki (Finland).

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