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Discussion of Technology and Innovation in China 

March 21 @ 1:30 pm 3:00 pm

Bo An, 2023-24 An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies 
Andrew Kennedy, Associate Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

Iain Johnston
, Governor James Albert Noe and Linda Noe Laine Professor of China in World Affairs, Harvard University

Featuring two short research presentations followed by a roundtable discussion.

Post-maintenance: the Chinese Software Crisis in the 1980s, presented by Bo An

In this talk, I present a brief history of early Chinese computer software leading up to a crisis in maintenance in the 1980s, which was one of the main causes for the failure of building an indigenous computing industry in the PRC. Through this forgotten chapter, I hope to shed light on the broader context of the shift during the Deng period from self-reliance to foreign technology transfer, especially from the perspective of technological infrastructure. This allows a more nuanced understanding of the post-socialist transition and the dynamics between self-reliance and foreign dependency, as well as between the issues of innovation and maintenance in a long history of technology. 

Bo An holds a combined Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Literatures and Film and Media Studies from Yale University. Based on research into the history and theory of information technology in modern China, his dissertation examines the rise of computing in the People’s Republic of China between the 1940s and 1980s. Dr. An is currently investigating post-1980s applied computing and the longer global history of science behind it.  

China’s New Paradigm: How the Party Learned to Love the Innovation System, presented by Andrew Kennedy 

China’s pursuit of “innovation-driven development” has become central to its rise in the 21st century.  China’s approach to science, technology, and innovation has evolved considerably, however, and remains difficult to understand.  This presentation highlights the policy paradigms behind China’s changing approach and how CCP leaders have embraced and localized the concept of the innovation system in particular.    

Andrew Kennedy is Associate Professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University.  He is the author of The Conflicted Superpower: America’s Collaboration with China and India in Global Innovation (Columbia 2018) and The International Ambitions of Mao and Nehru: National Efficacy Beliefs and the Making of Foreign Policy (Cambridge 2012), among others.  His current research focuses on China’s approach to science and technology since 1949 and China’s rise as a technology power in the 21st century. 

Please register for this discussion at: https://forms.office.com/r/6PBbnhWYm9.


March 21
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Event Category:


CGIS South Room S250

1730 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 United States

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