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Past Events in NYC

Yu Hua discusses Brothers

Monday, Oct. 31, 2011, 4-6PM:

Writer Yu Hua ??, author of To Live and Brothers and recipient of the 2002 James Joyce Award, will join EAS faculty and graduate students for a discussion of his novel “Brothers” in the EAS department, 41 East 11th St, 7th floor, room 741, time 4-6PM.

“The Triangle: Israel-China-The United States”

Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011, 11AM-1PM:

Given by Professor Aron Shai, rector of Tel Aviv University and professor of East Asian Studies. He’ll be joined in a subsequent discussion with NYU professors including China House director Xudong Zhang, comparative literature professor Ulrich Baer, and history professor Zvi Ben-Dor. In the East Asian Studies department, 41 East 11th Street, 7th Fl, room 741. Cosponsored by the department of East Asian Studies and NYU’s Taub Institute.

“Lu Xun and the Politics of the Modern Chinese Essay”

Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 5-6, 2011, 10AM-6PM:

An NYU-PKU Bilateral Faculty and Graduate Student Symposium. Faculty and students from Peking University and New York University will convene a 2 day conference, taking the work of Lu Xun and Zhou Zuoren as a starting point, exploring the work of the Zhou brothers in a contemporary context, including issues of translation, literary form and narrative structure, and cultural politics. Location TBA in the Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South. Cosponsored the International Center for Critical Theory-PKU, ICCT-NYU, Department of Chinese Language and Literature, PKU, Graduate School, PKU, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, NYU, and China House. For a detailed conference program, go to:

At the Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, room 914.


2 Talks:

In Search of a Property Tax Reform Strategy in China by Yu-Hung Hong


Closed Neighborhoods in Open Cities: The Political Logic of Spatial Change in Urban China by Meg Elizabeth Rithmire

Friday April 08, 2011 1:15 - 4:00 The Puck Building Wagner Conference Room, Second Floor 295 Lafayette Street

In Search of a Property Tax Reform Strategy in China

Presenter: Yu-Hung Hong


In the midst of the debates over the proposed property tax reform in China, policymakers and analysts have not been paying enough attention to one important matter: the integration of the new property tax with the existing public leasehold system. Because the Chinese government wants to retain its ownership of land, restructuring the current land leasing system in China should be considered as a complementary strategy for the property tax reform. Public land leasing and property taxation are local revenue sources that can co-exit, supplementing each other as levies on land in form of leasehold charges and tax. Different combinations of these revenue generating mechanisms will provide an array of policy options for local governments to raise funds for financing local infrastructure and services according to varying circumstances. Thus, the design of the new property tax should not be conducted in isolation. Instead, it must be contemplated in conjunction with the fiscal roles of current public leasehold system. This presentation examines possibilities and challenges of combining property taxation and public land leasing as an integrated approach to reforming China's local fiscal systems in general, and capturing land value in particular.

About Yu-Hung Hong:

Dr. Yu-Hung Hong is a senior fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. He earned his Ph.D. in Urban Development and Masters in City Planning from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At the Lincoln Institute, Dr. Hong focuses his research on issues related to property rights and obligations, land management tools, and local public finance. Specifically, he is interested in investigating how land value increments created by public investment and community collaboration can be recaptured by the government for financing local infrastructure and social services.

Dr. Hong has been teaching urban public finance since 1996. He is a visiting faculty in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, teaching budgeting, fiscal policy evaluation, urban public finance in developing countries, and advanced public finance seminars. He was an assistant professor at the University of Akron in Ohio (1999-2003) and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in China (1996-1998).

Dr. Hong publishes on topics related to property obligations, public land leasing, land readjustment, and property taxation. He is the co-editor of nine books: Leasing Public Land: Policy Debates and International Experiences (2003; translated into Chinese in 2007); Analyzing Land Readjustment: Economics, Law, and Collective Action (2007); Land Policies and Their Outcomes (2007); Fiscal Decentralization and Land Policies (2008); Property Rights and Land Policies (2009); Smart Growth Policies: An Evaluation of Programs and Outcomes (2009); Local Revenues and Land Policies (2010); China's Local Public Finance in Transition (2010); and Climate change and Land Policies (forthcoming).

Closed Neighborhoods in Open Cities: The Political Logic of Spatial Change in Urban China

Presenter: Meg Elizabeth Rithmire

Abstract: What explains variation in local governments' abilities to exert control over the territory within their purview? Often, despite similar formal regulations governing the use and allocation of urban land, we observe great variation in the extent to which local governments are able to secure themselves as the sole arbiter of the use, control, and transfer of urban property rights. This paper utilizes a paired comparison of two cities in China, which has experienced both rapid urbanization and a restructuring of the urban spatial economy to facilitate market reforms in place of state socialism, to examine the political logic of urban spatial control. Starting from similar conditions in Northeastern China's rust belt in 1978, the city of Dalian proceeded faster with opening its economy to global trade and investment while the city of Harbin pursued reinvestment in the state sector and nurtured small-scale entrepreneurship. Based on interviews, archival research, and spatial data analysis using GIS, I trace how these cities developed different informal property rights regimes as political strategies to negotiate with constituencies below them to pursue economic growth as well as social stability. The findings bring to light the spatial dimension of local government plans for economic growth and redistribution.

About Meg Elizabeth Rithmire:

Meg is now a PhD candidate in the Department of Government at Harvard, focusing on Chinese and comparative urban politics. This talk is from her dissertation, the research for which has been funded by the Fulbright as well as the Chinese Ministry of Education. In the fall, she will begin a position as an assistant professor in the Business, Government, and International Economy unit of the Harvard Business School.

Co-sponsored by China House and NYU Wagner School




A workshop with TANG YING and ZHANG XIAN, acclaimed Chinese writers, critics, and performance festival organizers.

The Department of Cinema Studies Tisch School of the Arts New York University

Friday, March 11th

721 Broadway Room 652


Tang Ying ?? "Point of No Return: On the Production Process of Go for Broke (1999)” Tang Ying discusses the vicissitudes in the making of the first “independent” film within the official Chinese film system. Aided with clips, Tang Ying offers an insider’s account and critical assessment on a unique docudrama about the bankruptcy of a state-owned factory in Shanghai and the workers’ effort to reclaim it.

Coffee break


Zhang Xian ?? "POST-Z(H)OMBISM”

A vernacular neologism initially for describing unnatural affectations and excess in the reform-era youth culture, “Zhomism”has in the past decade become a form of virulent discursive attacks on anything canonical, serious and provocative popular among Chinese cultural critics, who choose to forego aesthetic and ethical considerations. The illustrated talk surveys this cultural terrain and its ambivalent implications for cultural production and consumption in contemporary China, including Zhang Xian and partner Tang Ying’s personal involvement in the alternative art and culture scene in Shanghai.

3:30—4:30pm Reception

** The talks will be in Chinese with English translation.**

Co-sponsored by China House and the Department of Cinema Studies, TSOA at NYU


China's New Talent Policy: Implications and Impact for China's Development

Wednesday, March 2nd
3:30 PM
41 East 11th Street, rm 741

Wang Huiyao

China has undergone enormous economic changes in the past 30 years and now faces important decisions as it considers how best to sustain this unprecedented level of growth. China's population is aging rapidly and the 225 million migrant workers who have fueled China's economic miracle for the past three decades are now demanding better payment for their work. Further complicating the situation are the growing numbers of college graduates entering the job market: according to the Chinese government, China will have 195 million college-educated people by 2020. In response to these and other policy challenges, the Chinese leadership recently launched a major national talent development plan intended to cultivate, attract and retain highly skilled individuals in many sectors of the Chinese economy. This new plan has far-reaching implications for China's efforts to build an innovation-driven economy by 2020 and offers valuable insights for the global academic, business and policy communities.

Dr. Wang currently is a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and was a Visiting Fellow at Brookings Institution. He has been a senior advisor to the Chinese government at both central and local levels and has served as a Task Force Leader for Global Talents Strategy Study Group of Department of Organization of Central Government He is the Vice Chairman of China Talent Research Society of Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and also an Economic Team Leader for Overseas Experts Advisory Committee of China State Council Overseas Chinese Affairs Office. Dr. Wang has researched extensively on China's talent issues and published several books and papers on the subject, including his recent book National Strategy--Talents Change World which has been recommended by Party Secretary Wang Yang to all provincial government officials to read in Guangdong.

Sponsored by China House.


The Political & The Sensual in Poetry

A lecture and poetry reading by Yang Lian, on his poetic exploration of political and sensual motives in Chinese language. The lecture will be conducted in English, but the poetry reading will be in Chinese. English translation will be provided.

Friday, October 22
2:00 PM
Silver Center, Room 401

Yang Lian

Yang Lian, one of the most prolific and internationally acclaimed poets from China, was born in Switzerland in 1955, and grew up in Beijing. He was one of the founders of the 'Misty'???? school of contemporary Chinese poetry. He has published over ten collections of poems, as well as several collections of prose writings in Chinese, and is the recipient of many prestigious international poetry awards.  His work has been translated into more than twenty languages, including English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, etc.  He currently lives and writes in London.

Sponsored by the Department of East Asian Studies and China House.


China/Taiwan Cross-Strait Relations--Retrospect and Prospect
(Click to RSVP)

NYU China House, in association with Polytechnic Institute of New York University, cordially invites you to a special address by Dr. Lien Chan, Honorary Chairman of the Nationalist Party (KMT) in Taiwan and former Vice President of the Republic of China on Taiwan, on "China/Taiwan Cross-Strait Relations--Retrospect and Prospect".

Tuesday, April 13
1:30 - 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt Hall, Tishman Auditorium
40 Washington Square South

Organizing Committee:
Prof. Xudong Zhang, Director, NYU China House
Dr. David Chang, Chancellor, NYU-Poly
Prof. Jerome Cohen, Co-Director, U.S.-Asia Law Institute, NYU School of Law


A statesman and scholar, Lien Chan is the Honorary Chairman of the Kuomintang Party (KMT), as well as the Chairman of both the National Policy Foundation and Lien Chan Foundation for Peace and Development.

Lien was born in Xi’an, Shaanxi, on August 27, 1936, into a traditional family with roots in Taiwan tracing back to hundreds of years.  He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at National Taiwan University in 1957, as well as a master’s degree in 1961 and a doctorate in political science in 1965, both from the University of Chicago. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from NYU-Poly.

In 1975, Lien was drafted from the academic world and appointed Ambassador to the Republic of El Salvador, and thus began his political career.  He rose to the cabinet and became Premier in 1993.  He was elected Vice President in 1996. 

In the year 2000, he became KMT Chairman.  In that capacity, Lien made a historic “journey of peace” to Mainland China in April 2005, during which he met with Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao.  Lien became the first KMT chairman to visit the mainland since his government relocated to Taiwan in 1949.  Following their meeting, Lien and Hu jointly outlined five points in a vision statement for cross-strait relations, and in so doing, laid a firm foundation for economic cooperation and political conciliation across the Taiwan Strait.

East Asian Studies Faculty-Graduate Student Seminar on Premodern China co-sponsored by Faculty of Arts and Science and China House

XIN: Conceptions of the Heart in Classical Chinese Philosophical and Literary Texts

Featuring Andrew Plaks

2/17- 3:30-6:00pm
41 East 11th Street, room 709
Seminar: Re-reading the Core Texts on xin: the Issue of ‘Heart’ and ‘Mind’

3/24- 3:30-6:00pm
41 East 11th Street, room 709
Seminar: How ‘New’ is the Neo-Confucian Revision of the Four Books Conception of xin? Readings in Tang and Song Writings on the Cultivation of Mind

4/22- 3:30-6:00pm
41 East 11th Street, room 709
Seminar: Wang Yangming, Chen Baisha and Others on the Cultivation of the Mind: xin as both the Source of Illusory Self-containment and the Locus of Self-realization

Andrew Plaks is a Professor Emeritus of East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature at Princeton University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1973. He is interested in various aspects of classical Chinese literature, including Ming-Qing fiction and early Chinese philosophical and historical texts, as well as topics in pre-modern Japanese literature. Professor Plaks' major works include Archetype and Allegory in the Dream of the Red Chamber and The Four Masterworks of the Ming Novel.

Accompanying readings are attached. All seminars will be conducted in English. This series is co-sponsored by China House and the Faculty of Arts and Science.

Lecture Series:
The Cultural Politics of People's Republic of China, 1949-2009

March 08, 2010
41 East 11th Street
room 741

Professor Yingjin Zhang

Discussant: PhD Candidate Liu Zhuo, Department of East Asian Studies, New York University

Talk Title: "The Need for Rupture: Comparative Literary History and Contemporary Chinese Literature"

This talk starts with Stephen Greenblatt’s emphasis on the “need for rupture” in literary history in order to rethink modern Chinese literary historiography in Chinese and English. The theory and practice of comparative literary history as theorized by Mario J. Valdés and Linda Hutcheon and implemented in two literary history projects on Central-Eastern Europe and Latin America provides a timely incentive for Chinese literary scholars to move research forward beyond the current divergence between a persistent lack of interest in literary history in English scholarship and an inundation of literary histories in Chinese. Not surprisingly, the recent call in China for defamilarization and micro-histories demonstrates the desire to break away from the orthodox model of comprehensive historiography, and a comparative examination of sample literary histories in Chinese may yield insights to be gained from, and further developed on, a reconceptualization of literary history in terms of rupture, diversity and heterogeneity, rather than continuity, singularity and homogeneity.

Yingjin Zhang is Director of Chinese Studies Program and Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature at University of California-San Diego. His English books include The City in Modern Chinese Literature and Film (1996), Encyclopedia of Chinese Film (1998), China in a Polycentric World (1998), Cinema and Urban Culture in ShanghaiScreening China (2002), Chinese National Cinema (2004), From Underground to Independent (2006), Cinema, Space, and Polylocality in a Globalizing China (2010), and Chinese Film Stars (2010).

Co-sponsored by the Faculty Seminar Series on "The Cultural Politics of People's Republic of China, 1949-2009," supported by the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University and China House.

Lecture Series:
The Cultural Politics of People's Republic of China, 1949-2009

Feb. 19, 2010
10 Washington Place
room 104

Professor Yiching Wu

Discussant: Professor Peter Button, Department of East Asian Studies, New York University

Talk Title: "Revolutionary Alchemy: Shanghai's 'January Revolution' Reinterpreted"

Yiching Wu is Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies and the Asian Institute at the University of Toronto. An anthropologist trained at the University of Chicago, his main scholarly interests involve the history, society and politics of Mao’s China, in particular the history and historiography of the Cultural Revolution. He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Revolution at the Margins: Social Protest and Politics of Class in China, 1966-69, which examines popular transgressions and radicalization of the Cultural Revolution during the late 1960.

Co-sponsored by the Faculty Seminar Series on "The Cultural Politics of People's Republic of China, 1949-2009," supported by the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University and China House.

Critical reflections on the making of 'Modern Chinese Philosophy': an anthropological moment?
Joel Thoraval

Time: 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM, Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Location: The Department of East Asian Studies
715 Broadway, rm. 312

One of the most remarkable manifestations of Confucianism's "Modern Fate" was the creation of particularly compelling philosophical systems during the 20th century.

Taking place in the context of new academic institutions modeled on European universities, the transformation of Confucian thought into a modern philosophical discourse by such thinkers as Mou Zongsan (1909-1995) was motivated by the desire of maintaining the ultimate meaning of neo-Confucian teachings in terms of their ideal of self-cultivation (neisheng). But this academic transformation was also accompanied by difficulties and aporia on account of barriers that were created to establish Philosophy as a separate discipline, which was consequently cut off from traditional Confucian practices.

In this instance, the "anthropological moment", in the process of analyzing this phenomenon, designates the possibility of making a detour through the observation of symbolic practices (religious, educational, esthetic) which illuminate both the creativity and the blind spots of modern "Confucian Philosophy."

Joel Thoraval will try to approach this problem in the light of his own experience which has been a combination of the study of philosophical texts and anthropological field work.

Co-sponsored by the Faculty Seminar Series and China House.

China and the US: Towards a Closer Partnership
An address by Tung Chee Hwa (download transcript)
An NYU China House and the Office of Global Programs event

Time: 11:00 AM, Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Location: Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for University Life
60 Washington Square South, Room 802 (at the corner of LaGuardia Place)

Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
Former Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Founding Chairman of the China-US Exchange Foundation


Machine for Contacting the Dead
A talk presented by Liza Lim
NYU China House & NYU Steinhardt Music and Performing Arts Professions Co-sponsor

Time: 4-6pm, Tuesday, April 14 2009
Location: 20 Cooper Square, Humanities Initiative Room 503 (5th floor)
Reception follows.

See presentation images and video

This talk is about boundaries and ritual spaces in Liza Lim's compositional practice referencing aspects of Chinese culture such as archaeology, calligraphy, myths and opera performance.

Liza Lim (b.1966) is an Australian composer who writes music marked by visceral energy and vibrant color, often exploring forms of ritual and performance aesthetics drawn from both Asian and Australian Aboriginal sources. In describing her music, she counterpoints terms such as "radiance and shadows" and "violence and meditation". Her works, which range from operatic and orchestral scores to site-specific installations, have been performed by some of the world's most eminent ensembles. Notably, she was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to write the orchestral work, Ecstatic Architecture to celebrate the inaugural season of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2004. Recent major commissions have been received from the Festival d'Automne Paris, Salzburg Festival, Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra and Lucerne Festival. She was composer-in-residence with the Sydney Symphony (between 2004-06) and has had close artistic partnerships with the Australian ELISION ensemble, Ensemble Intercontemporain Paris and Ensemble fur neue musik Zurich. Her third opera 'The Navigator' was commissioned by the Brisbane and Melbourne International Arts Festivals who presented premiere seasons in 2008. There are upcoming seasons of the opera at the Chekhov International Theatre Festival, Moscow (June 2009) and Festival d'Automne Paris (Dec 2009).

Lim has received major fellowships and awards from the Australia Council, Fromm Foundation, Ian Potter Foundation, DAAD Berlin and won the 2004 Paul Lowin Prize for orchestral composition. She has an extensive publication record with Ricordi (Milan and London). She is currently Professor of Composition and director of the Centre for Research in New Music at the University of Huddersfield, UK.

Of Two Minds: Freud and Revolutionary Spirit in China
A Seminar presented by Wendy Larson
An NYU China House & EAS Event

Time: 1:30-3:30pm, Tuesday, April 7 2009
Location: East Asian Studies conference room 312, 3rd floor, Broadway 715

Please RSVP to to receive reading materials provided by Professor Wendy Larson.

Wendy Larson is Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Oregon, with a specialty in modern Chinese literature and film. Her recent work includes From Ah Q to Lei Feng: Freud and Revolutionary Spirit in 20th Century China (Stanford UP 2008), and "Zhang Yimou's Hero: Dismantling the Myth of Cultural Power" (Journal of Chinese Cinemas V.2 N.3 2008).

"Invincible for Aye!" Melancholy and Wrath, or Towards the Utopia of Purge
A Seminar presented by Wolfgang Kubin (download article)
An NYU China House & EAS Event

Time: 11:30-2:30pm, Monday, March 30 2009
Location: 20 Cooper Square, Humanities Initiative, 5th Floor, Conference Room 503

In order to be successful, any kind of revolution has to simultaneously fulfill two preconditions: first of all, it has materials such as land and property to be redistributed; secondly, it promises the mass a utopian society. This is so because the revolutionary, who very often is of melancholic, even depressive nature, needs to mobilize the mass by persuading them that they should be either unhappy about or dissatisfied with their current living conditions. In short, he has to produce the wrath of the masses. All revolutions, however, are doomed to fail as soon as all previous property is used up and once the mass discover that the new master is more demanding than the old. This is true not only for East Europe before 1989, but also for China before 1979. After 1979, a rescue for Chinese socialism is even to have more exploitation of natural resources and man power, i.e., to ask help from capitalism. Thus, this talk tries to show how the idea of Utopia is manipulated as a tool by and for China's new ruling power.

Kubin, Wolfgang (in Chinese: Gu Bin) is Professor of Chinese Studies at Bonn University and works as a translator and a writer, too. In 1985 he was appointed professor of Chinese at Bonn University. At first he worked at the Department of Oriental Languages where he was in charge of the Chinese section. Since 1995 he has been the head of the Department of Chinese Studies. Since 1989 he has been editing the journals Orientierungen. Zeitschrift zur Kultur Asiens and minima sinica. Zeitschrift zum chinesischen Geist. Since 2002 he has been writing and editing the history of Chinese literature Geschichte der chinesischen Literatur, which is intended to comprise ten volumes. Wolfgang Kubin focuses on Chinese literature and the intellectual history of imperial and modern China. For his scholarly and literary work as well as in the field of translation he was awarded several prizes and honorary professorships.

Mo Yan

A Literary Night with Mo Yan
Bilingual Readings from Selected Works (poster)
Presented by NYU China House & Dept. of East Asian Studies

Readings from: Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out, Big Breasts and Wide Hips, The Republic of Wine.

Place: Kimmel Center, rm 914
Time: Tuesday March 10, 2009
* Reception follows

"For those who strive in vain for a definition or a mere coherent description of post-Tiananmen China, Mo Yan's Jiuguo (The Republic of Wine) offers an imaginary solution, aesthetic pleasure, and even moral catharsis." - Xudong Zhang, Postsocialism and Cultural Politics

"Mo Yan transforms the wreckage of everyday life into something useful, cheering and rare." - Michael Porter, The New York Times Book Review

"If I were to choose a Nobel laureate, it would be Mo Yan." - Kenzaburo Oe, 1994 Nobel Laureate for Literature

Mo Yan is author of Red Sorghum (made into a film by Zhang Yimou), The Republic of Wine, Shifu, You'll Do Anything for A Laugh, Big Breasts and Wide Hips, The Garlic Ballads, and, most recently, Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out. After a brief introduction by Professor Xudong Zhang, Mo Yan will read from a selection of his works and answer questions from the audience.

Whither Chimerica?
A Seminar presented by Cui Zhiyuan
An NYU China House & EAS Event

Time: 1:30-3:30pm, Wednesday March 04 2009
Location: East Asian Studies conference room 312, 3rd floor, Broadway 715

On December 25th 2008, the New York Times published an article titled "Chinese Savings helped Inflate American Bubble". It reported that Bernanke, Paulson and many American economists were arguing that by having invested more than US$1trillion dollars of its own money into American government bonds and government-backed mortgage debt and repeatedly lowering its interest rates China had actually helped fuelled a historic consumption binge and housing bubble in the United States. The assertion triggered an angry response from the People's Daily. This lecture argues that it is a daunting task to answer the American charge that "you spoiled us", since it requires both internal adjustment of China's development strategy as well as a reconstruction of the international monetary system.

Cui Zhiyuan is a Professor at the School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing. In the spring semester of 2008, he is the Anthony W. and Lulu C.Wang Distinguished Visiting Professor at Cornell University Law School. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from University of Chicago in 1995. His selective writings includes: "The Dilemma of Invisible Hand Paradigm"(Chinese version, 1999, Economic Science Publisher,Beijing;English version, forthcoming from Harvard University Press);"The Second Thought Liberalization Movement and Institutional Innovation"(Oxford University Press, Hong Kong, 1997), "Whither China?"(Seoul, 2003). He is a co-author (with Adam Przeworski et al) of "Sustainable Democracy"(Cambridge University Press, 1995) and the editor of Robert Unger's "Politics"(Verso, 1997). With Huang Ping, he co-edited "China and Globalization: Washington Consensus, Beijing Consensus or what?" (Beijing, 2005)

Variations between Culture and Politics:
War, Revolution and Cultural Movement in the Era of May Forth

A Seminar presented by Wang Hui
An NYU China House & EAS Event

Time: 1:30-3:30pm, Tuesday March 03 2009
Location: East Asian Studies conference room 312, 3rd floor, Broadway 715

The significance of the May Forth Movement becomes more and more obscure at its ninetieth anniversary. Current May Forth studies tend to focus on the evolvement of the ideas such as Science, Democracy and Republic and favor positivism instead of revealing any innovative value of this historical event. This talk will investigate "the East-West Cultural Debate" between The Eastern Miscellany and The New Youth then edited by Du Yaquan and Chen Duxiu, respectively. Du proposed to reconcile the West and East in terms of culture while Chen radically called for "educating the Youth". Thus I will argue that the May Forth, situated at the beginning of "the Short Twentieth Century", is indeed an origin of variations between Culture and Politics that unfolds a historical chapter of "the transformation of consciousness" in modern China.

Wang Hui is a professor of the School of Humanities, Tsinghua University, Beijing. In the past a few years, he was the visiting professor at Università di Bologna, New York University, University of Tokyo and Universität Heidelberg, respectively. He received his Ph.D. from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1988. His researches focus on Chinese literature and intellectual thought. His recent published works include a four-volume works The Rise of Modern Chinese Thought (2004, in Chinese, English version coming out soon), Depoliticized Politics: The end of the Short 20th Century and The Nineties (2008, in Chinese), The Politics of Imagining Asia (forthcoming), The End of Revolution (forthcoming). He was the executive editor of the influential magazine Dushu (Reading) from 1996 to 2007. The US magazine Foreign Policy named him as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world in May 2008.

China and Current Economic Crisis
A Symposium (poster)
Presented by NYU China House & Dept. of East Asian Studies

Presenters: Cui Zhiyuan, School of Public Administration, Tshinghua University
Yao Yang, China Center for Economic Research, Peking University
Wang Hui, School of the Humanities, Tsinghua University

Commentators: Frank Upham, NYU Law School
Doug Guthrie & Edward Lincoln, NYU Stern School of Business

Time: 6:30-8:30pm, Monday March 2nd, 2009
Location: 19 West 4th Street, Room 101
*Reception follows

Cui Zhiyuan is a Professor at the School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing. In the spring semester of 2008, he was the Anthony W. and Lulu C.Wang Distinguished Visiting Professor at Cornell University Law School. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from University of Chicago in 1995. His selective writings includes: The Dilemma of Invisible Hand Paradigm (1999); The Second Thought Liberalization Movement and Institutional Innovation (1997); Whither China? (2003). He is a co-author of Sustainable Democracy (1995) and the co-editor of China and Globalization: Washington Consensus, Beijing Consensus or what?(2005).

Yao Yang is a Professor at the China Center for Economic Research (CCER) and the National School of Development (NSD), Peking University. He currently serves as the deputy director of CCER and deputy dean of NSD in charge of academic affairs and the editor of the center's house journal China Economic Quarterly. He received his Ph.D. in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in1996. His research interests include economic transition and development in China. He has published widely in international and domestic journals as well as several sole authored and coauthored books on institutional economics and economic development in China including Ownership Transformation in China (co-author, World Bank, 2005), Economic Reform as A Process of Institutional Innovation (in Chinese, English version coming out soon) and Globalization and Economic Growth in China (co-editor, World Scientific, 2006).

Wang Hui is a professor of the School of Humanities, Tsinghua University, Beijing. In the past a few years, he was the visiting professor at Università di Bologna, New York University, University of Tokyo and Universität Heidelberg, respectively. He received his Ph.D. from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 1988. His researches focus on Chinese literature and intellectual thought. His recent published works include a four-volume works The Rise of Modern Chinese Thought (2004, in Chinese, English version coming out soon), Depoliticized Politics: The end of the Short 20th Century and The Nineties (2008, in Chinese), The Politics of Imagining Asia (forthcoming), The End of Revolution (forthcoming). He was the executive editor of the influential magazine Dushu (Reading) from 1996 to 2007. The US magazine Foreign Policy named him as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world in May 2008.

The Institutional Foundations of China's Economic Growth
A Seminar Series

Professor Yang Yao (Vita)
National School of Development & China Center for Economic Research
Peking University

Place: EAS, 715 Broadway, rm 312
Time: Thursday afternoon 3:00 - 6:15
Format: 1hr 30 min. lecture and 1hr 45 min. discussions

Students who are able to attend every seminar may enroll in it as a 2 credit course, however, students and faculty are invited to sit-in on any seminar that they'd like to attend.

Below is a description of each week's topic:

January 29: Does China Offer An Alternative Model to Economic Development?

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China's economic success along with an authoritarian political system raises the question whether China has created an alternative model for economic development. This seminar answers this question at two levels, one pure economic, and the other political economy. At the economic level, China does not create a new model but has rather followed the standard policy recommendations of neoclassical economics. At the political economy level, China does have created experiences that could offer potential lessons to other developing countries. Researchers can find some growth-enhancing mechanisms from the Chinese experience that apply beyond the borders of political systems. The seminar will identify several areas where such mechanisms are likely to be found.

February 5: Incentives before Institutions:A Chinese Way to Economic Reform

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Recent development literature reiterates Douglass North's thesis that "institutions matter." However, the Chinese experience shows that it requires more than this thesis if one is serious about making institutions work in developing countries. Local conditions almost always oblige imported institutions to be modified. China's economic reform has often resulted in temporary and mid-way institutions. They worked under the circumstances that created them. In addition, one has to consider how to incentivize government officials to adopt good institutions. The Chinese experience has shown that providing incentives is more important than pursuing institutional purity in economic growth.

February 12: The Ruling Party and Economic Growth

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Why does the CCP, the single dominant power in China, care about economic growth? One explanation resorts to its ideological convictions. Another theory proposes that institutionalization within the party is the key to the explanation. This seminar suggests that looking at the CCP's sources of legitimacy and the Chinese social structure may provide a better understanding on why the CCP cares about economic growth. The lack of procedure-based legitimacy forces the CCP to seek for legitimacy from continuous delivery of outcomes to the society. The Chinese society is a socially equal one, preempting the CCP's intention to court a few strong groups; that is, it is in its self-interests to deliver growth to China as a whole.

February 19: Land Tenure, Productivity, and Farmer Protection

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Land tenure is a contentious issue in current China because it not only has a lot to do with productivity, but also affects farmers' welfare, especially facing government requisition of land. Land is both an economic asset with fungible values and a means which together with labor enables farmers to insure against negative shocks. The current land tenure may have reached a balance between these two functions of land. This seminar will both review the history of Chinese land tenure and provide an account of recent developments in making land a more fungible asset.

February 26: Democratization in the Countryside and Its Impacts

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China has had democratic elections in its villages for more than 20 years. It is a question why an authoritarian state allows for democratic elections in the first place. One possible explanation is that village elections allow the authority to make a credible commitment to ordinary farmers that the state would give up its progressive policies implemented in the commune era. Based on nation-wide surveys, this seminar will provide evidence to show the nature, scope, and impacts of village elections. It will also discuss the prospect of democratization in the country at large.

March 5: Interest Groups, the Disinterested Government, and Economic Growth

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One serious impediment to economic growth in many developing countries is that the government is either captured by a few elites or trapped in divisive interest group politics. One distinctive feature of the Chinese government is that it has been disinterested in interest group politics. This allows it to focus on long-run economic growth of the country. In addition to providing evidence to show that the Chinese government has indeed been disinterested, this seminar will also provide a discussion on the political and social foundations for such a government to emerge in China.

March 12: Demographic Transition, Exports, and China's Growth Perspective

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The Chinese economy is the mirror image of the American economy: While the American economy is driven by innovation, consumption, and services, the Chinese economy is driven by imitation, investment, and manufacturing; while the US runs on huge trade deficits and capital inflows, China runs on huge trade surplus, but also on capital inflows. This seminar argues that the Chinese growth model has a lot to do with its demographics, which means that exports will still serve as a major engine for China's economic growth in the next ten to fifteen years. The mirror symmetry between China and the US may continue. In addition to offering an explanation to China's export-led growth model, this seminar will provide suggestions to break up this symmetry.

Chamber Ensemble Concert (poster)
Peking University Symphony Orchestra & New York University Symphony Orchestra
An NYU China House & NYU Steinhardt, Music and Performing Arts Professions Event
Music by Dvorak, Wu, Zhou & Schubert

Time: 2 pm, Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Location: Shorin Performance Room, Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, 6th floor

Lecture with:
 J. Stapleton Roy, Vice Chairman, Kissinger Associates and former U.S. Ambassador to China  
China and the International Political Landscape
Tuesday, February 12, 5:30 - 7:00 PM
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For lecture notes, please click here.

J. Stapleton Roy currently serves as Vice chairman of Kissinger Associates Inc. He was Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research from 1999-2000. He attained the highest rank in the Foreign Service, Career Ambassador, after serving as ambassador to Singapore, Indonesia and the People’s Republic of China. He is also a member of the board of Freeport McMoran Cooper & Gold Inc.

This event is co-sponsored by NYU China House, NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the U.S.- Asia Law Institute at the NYU School of Law.

Lecture with:
Yang Yao, Professor and Deputy Director of the China Center for Economic Research (CCER) at Peking University    
Elections, Accountability, and Farmers' Welfare in Chinese Villages
November 30, 2007, 12:00 - 2:00 PM
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Click here to listen to part two

Village elections have been the most significant development to the political life in rural China since the fall of the commune system in the early 1980s. They have empowered villagers to elect their own village officials and monitor their behavior in their tenure. This development has potentially important implications for villagers’ welfare. Based on several recent studies, this talk provides strong evidence supporting a positive role of village elections to enhance the accountability of the village officials, increase villagers’ income capabilities, and help them mitigate the negative effects of unexpected natural shocks and smooth their consumption.

This event is co-sponsored by NYU China House, NYU East Asian Studies Department, and the NYU Law School's US-Asia Law Institute.

Lecture with:
Donald Clarke, Visiting NYU Professor from George Washington University
The Ecology of Chinese Corporate Governance
November 14, 2007, 5:00 - 7:00 PM

The last several years have seen a proliferation of rules about corporate governance in China. But how significant are the rules if enforcement mechanisms, whether state or non-state, are weak or lacking altogether? China’s corporate governance regime relies heavily on the announcement of rules by government authorities and tends to overlook the institutions needed for making those rules meaningful. Lawmakers expect that regulated parties will read the legal texts and voluntarily obey; if they do not, their ignorance or moral failings are blamed, not the lack of enforcement institutions. Nor does the corporate governance regime look to non-governmental institutions for the making and enforcement of rules and standards. A major reason for this is simply political: the political system of China does not yet accept the existence of institutions that are both powerful and independent of the state. For all its progress over the quarter century, the post-Mao Chinese legal system remains an institution of only modest importance in the polity.

This event is co-sponsored by NYU China House and the Pollock Center of Law and Business.

Panel Discussion with:
Kurt Behrendt, Assistant Curator of South Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Annette L. Juliano, Professor of Asian Art History, Rutgers University-Newark Campus
Chao-Hui Jenny Liu, Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow of East Asian Art, New York University
Roderick Whitfield, Visiting Professor 2007-8, Department of History of Art, Yale University
Angela Zito, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies, New York University
Buddhist Art in Context
October 17, 2007, 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Three leading scholars working on Buddhist art in its multiple contexts are presenting their recent research at New York University. The speakers are Kurt Behrendt (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Annette L. Juliano (Rutgers University), and Roderick Whitfield (Yale University). Their papers address recent advances in the study and presentation of Gandharan Art, Indian influences on the beginnings of Chinese Buddhist art, and the interpretation of smaller atypical Buddhist images from the ancient Chinese capital of Chang’an (modern Xi’an).

The Symposium will also afford a glimpse of the complexities involved in presenting Buddhist art away from its original context to a public, anticipating three separate exhibitions: two in New York City at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (re-installation from August 10, 2007) and The China Institute (September 20-December 8, 2007); and a third at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, in spring 2008. Chao-Hui Jenny Liu will moderate and Angela Zito (NYU Religious Studies/Anthropology) will serve as Discussant.

The Symposium is organized in collaboration with the Department of Art History at NYU. For more information please click here.

Panel Discussion with:
Dr. Lung-Chi Chen, Department of Environmental Medicine
Dr. Qingshan Qu, Department of Environmental Medicine
Dr. Arnold Stern, Associate Director for the Institute of Community Health and Research
Dr. Bernard Yeung, Professor of Global Business & Director of China House
Environmental Health in China
April 26, 2007, 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Environmental pollution is of major concern to China as it undergoes rapid development in its transition to a market economy.  To combat the consequences of pollution the Chinese government has established the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) whose function is to define national environmental policies and regulations, collect information about the environment and provide technological advice. Pollution of air, water and ground are significant in almost all areas of China.  This has stimulated the government to create demonstration programs for combating pollution in several major cities and river valleys.  SEPA is reviewing strategies for minimizing pollution and enforcing regulations to control pollution.  Our speakers will inform us about the different types of pollution and suggest remedies for minimizing its consequences.  Both the medical and the economic issues related to the pollution will be discussed, particularly in relationship to policy.

Jerome Cohen

Speaker: Jerome Cohen, NYU Professor of Law
“Normalizing” Relations with China, 1966-79: Memoirs of an Academic Participant-Observer
Date: January 25, 2007, 4 - 6 PM

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Jerome Cohen is the leading American expert on East Asian law and a pioneer in the introduction of East Asian legal systems and perspectives into the American legal curricula. A Professor of Law at NYU and Senior Fellow for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Prof. Cohen regularly teaches on Chinese law and society and comparative international law, in particular analyzing how countries with a Confucian tradition relate to the international laws and traditions of the “Christian West.” Mr. Cohen is often consulted by the U.S. government and NGOs and has served as a trustee of the Asia Society, the China Institute, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and as the director of the National Committee on U.S. – China Relations.

Prof. Jerome Cohen will be speaking on the atmosphere in the U.S. and China from 1966 to 1979 and, by recalling his own observations and participation, discuss the development of the American approach to China by taking into consideration the domestic and international legal questions that formed an important part of the policy discussions on both sides as well as their relation to domestic politics in the United States. Prof. Cohen will emphasize the broader and human aspects of these developments rather than their technical legal content and also refer to the implications of these events for our contemporary, unresolved issues with China.

Pauline Yu

Speaker: Pauline Yu, President, American Council of Learned Societies
Topic: "The Chinese Century? American Learning and Chinese Lessons"
Date: November 30, 2006, 4 - 6 PM

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Pauline Yu, President of the American Council of Learned Societies, is a former Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Dean of Humanities in the College of Letters and Science at UCLA. She received her B.A. in History and Literature from Harvard University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Stanford University. She is the author or editor of five books and dozens of articles on classical Chinese poetry, literary theory, comparative poetics, and issues in the humanities and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, ACLS, and NEH. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she is on the Board of Trustees of the National Humanities Center, the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, the Board of the Teagle Foundation, the National Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and the Senate of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. In addition, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Asian Cultural Council, and the Board of Governors of the Hong Kong-America Center. Yu is also an Adjunct Senior Research Scholar and Visiting Professor in East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University.

Tom Bender

Speaker: Tom Bender, Ph.D., Professor of History, FAS, NYU
Topic: "China, America, and Global History:  Reflections on an Interconnected World since 1500"
Date: October 12, 2006, 4 PM

Thomas Bender is a University Professor of the Humanities and Director of the International Center for Advanced Studies. Prof. Bender proposes a fresh and illuminating alternative to the conventional national narrative of American exceptionalism. Placing American History firmly in a global context, and in particular with relations to China, he recasts the historical developments that were central to the making of the nation and shows why they can be fully understood only in light of America's global entanglements over five centuries.

Event: Third Annual Asian American Health Conference
Topic: "Take Notice, Take Action"
Date: September 29-30, 2006

The third Annual Asian American Health Conference urges participants to take notice of and take action towards reducing health disparities in the Asian American community.

The conference will include oral and poster presentations that reflect innovative programs, initiatives or research: enhancing outreach and service delivery; strategies for developing action-oriented research; ensuring inclusion of Asian Americans in data collection and dissemination.

Speakers include Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; NYC Council Member John Liu; Adam Gurvitch, MS, The New York Immigration Coalition; and Marguerite Ro, DrPH Deputy Director, Asian American Pacific Islander Health Forum.

Liu Biwei

Speaker: Liu Biwei, Chinese Consul General to New York
Topic: "Enhanced Mutual Understanding towards Closer Exchanges and Cooperation between China and the United States”
Date: September 28, 2006, 3:30 PM

Accompanied by an art installation curated by Gerald Pryor entitled: "Seven Artists in China / Again"

China House is proud to launch its Speaker Series with Liu Biwei, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China to New York, one of the top-ranked Chinese officials in the United States. He has served within the Chinese diplomatic service for over 25 years, in Southeast Asia, Africa, and since 2003, in New York City. Join him as he comes to speak on China's relations with the United States. Liu Biwei's lecture will also commemorate the official inauguration of New York University China House. The event will be marked by an art installation curated by Gerald Pryor, head of the NYU Department of Art and Art Professions. The seven artists showcasing their work are: Joanna Foster, Hee Seung Sung, Adrienne Adar, Kwong Yin Brian Hung, Zoi Karamani, Meng Tang and Donald Penny.