Speakers: Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom and Maura Elizabeth Cunningham
Harvard Coop Book Talk
In this fully revised and updated third edition of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know®, Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom and Maura Elizabeth Cunningham provide cogent answers to urgent questions regarding the world’s newest superpower and offer a framework for understanding China’s meteoric rise from developing country to superpower. Framing their answers through the historical legacies – Confucian thought, Western and Japanese imperialism, the Mao era, and the Tiananmen Square massacre – that largely define China’s present-day trajectory, Wasserstrom and Cunningham introduce readers to the Chinese Communist Party, the building boom in Shanghai, and the environmental fallout of rapid Chinese industrialization. They also explain unique aspects of Chinese culture, such as the one-child policy, and provide insight into Chinese-American relations, a subject that has become increasingly fraught during the Trump era. As Wasserstrom and Cunningham draw parallels between China and other industrialized nations during their periods of development, in particular the United States during its rapid industrialization in the 19th century, they also predict how we might expect China to act in the future vis-à-vis the United States, Russia, India, and its East Asian neighbors.
Updated to include perspectives on Hong Kong’s shifting political status, as well as an expanded discussion of President Xi Jinping’s time in office, China in the 21st Century provides a concise and insightful introduction to this significant global power.
Maura Elizabeth Cunningham is a writer and historian of modern China. She is a graduate of Saint Joseph’s University (B.A., 2004), Yale University (M.A., 2006), the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies (graduate certificate, 2008), and the University of California, Irvine (Ph.D., 2014). Maura was the editor-in-chief of The China Beat, a blog based at UC Irvine, between 2009 and 2012, and associate editor of ChinaFile during a fellowship at the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations in 2011-12. From 2014 to 2016, Maura served as a program officer at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, where she co-directed the Public Intellectuals Program; in 2016, she became the digital media manager at the Association for Asian Studies. As a writer, her work has appeared at the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other publications.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz (B.A., 1982), Harvard (A.M., 1984), and Berkeley (Ph.D.,1989), and he is now Chancellor’s Professor of History at UC Irvine. He has written five books, the most recent of which are Eight Juxtapositions: China through Imperfect Analogies from Mark Twain to Manchukuo (Penguin, 2016) and the third edition of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford, 2018). He has also edited or co-edited several other books, including The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China (2016). In addition to writing for academic journals, he has contributed to many general interest venues, among them the New York Times, the TLS, and the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB). He is an academic editor of LARB’s China Channel and the Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies.