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China's Durable Inequality: Legacies of Revolution & Pitfalls of Reform

A talk by Mark Selden

Tuesday, January 29, 2008
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Since the early 1980s, China has been hailed as the poster child of post-socialist transition, shifting its revolutionary course via a reform that has generated the world’s most dynamic growth in GNP and trade over a quarter of a century and elevated it to the forefront of nations attracting foreign investment. Often eclipsed in this glowing picture are enduring, indeed exacerbated, structures of inequality and the vibrant forms of popular resistance these have spawned. Equally forgotten are structures of inequalities of the revolutionary era, including both persisting historical legacies and new forms of inequality structured by the priorities of the party state. 

Professor Selden offers a framework both for assessing structures of Chinese inequality in successive epochs of revolution and reform and for gauging the changing relationship between social movements and structures of inequality. Three key questions drive the analysis: What are the legacies of the Chinese Revolution for the pursuit of social equality? How has reform restructured patterns of inequality? What is the relationship between the social upheavals that took place during both periods and changing patterns of inequality?

Professor Selden’s talk builds on a framework laid out in his article (coauthored by China Kwan Lee) “China's Durable Inequality: Legacies of Revolution and Pitfalls of Reform,” in the electronic journal Japan Focus. Click here for the article>>

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Mark Selden (PhD, History, Yale, 1967)  is a coordinator of Japan Focus, an electronic journal and archive on Japan and the Asia-Pacific at A Senior Fellow, East Asia Program, Cornell University, his research centers on modern and contemporary China and Japan and Asia, war and peace, the political economy of development, social movements, revolutionary change, regional formation, agrarian studies, and historical memory. He is the editor of book series at Rowman and Littlefield, Routledge, and M.E. Sharpe publishers. Among his publications are The Yenan Way in Revolutionary China (Harvard, 1971), Remaking Asia: Essays on the American Uses of Power (Pantheon, 1974), The Political Economy of Chinese Socialism (M.E. Sharpe, 1988; Chinese edition 1990); The Political Economy of Chinese Development (M.E. Sharpe, 1993); China in Revolution: The Yenan Way Revisited (M.E. Sharpe, 1995; Chinese edition 2002); and Revolution, Resistance, and Reform in Village China (coauthored with Edward Friedman and Paul Pickowicz; Yale 2005).

310 825-8683
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Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies