Seeing China and the Asia-Pacific from India

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Friday, April 30th, 2021

Friday, April 30, 202110:00AM - 11:30AMOnline Event, Online Event
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PLEASE NOTE: This event has been postponed due to the CAUT (Canadian Association of University Teachers) censure of the University of Toronto.

With their shared and yet diverged colonial and postcolonial experiences, both China and India have embarked on their own modernizing and state-building projects after World War II. From a brief hope of solidarity in the 1955 Bandung Conference to repeated border conflicts, and from postwar developmentalism to neoliberal market reforms, the two self-assured Asian giants have entangled with one another in numerous ways. Today, as China and India seem to drift further apart from each other under the rhetoric of the “New Cold War,” what does it mean to talk about South-South relations in research, activism, and policy-making in the context of China and India? How do scholars and intellectuals from or working on India view China and the changing Asia-Pacific order? This panel brings together scholars and intellectuals from a variety of backgrounds to engage these urgent questions.

Dr. Uday Balakrishnan, 70, is a former Indian civil servant, newspaper columnist and public intellectual. He retired from the Government of India as Member of the Postal Services Board & Chairman, Investment Board of the then 3 billion USD Postal Life Insurance Fund. Amongst his other assignments, Dr Balakrishnan has been in charge of the national child labour elimination programme as well as women labour and unorganized labour in the Government of India. He has worked in areas of logistics, financial inclusion and anti-corruption in the Government of India. He has also been the administrative head- Registrar- of the Indian Institute of Science – Bangalore.

Dr. Balakrishnan’s academic interests include modern history (with special focus on India- China relations) and public policy. He has been Visiting Fellow at the National Insitute of Advanced Study – Bangalore, the Central European University – Budapest and Visiting Faculty at the Centre for Contemporary Studies, Indian Insitute of Science Bangalore where he also has been teaching a public policy and contemporary history course titled ‘Introduction to Governance in India.’ Dr. Balakirshnan is a columnist and reviewer of books for some of India’s finest newspapers, The Hindu and its financial newspaper BusinessLine. He has co-authored a chapter on Indian Christianity (Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century) edited by Lucian N Leustean – published by Routledge in 2014. A selection of his writings, ‘India On My Mind – Reflections on Politics, Democracy and History,’ was released by the Centre For Policy Studies-Vishakhapatnam – India on 14th April 2021.

Mark W. Frazier is Professor of Politics at The New School for Social Research and Co-Director of the India China Institute at The New School. His research interests focus on labor and social policy in China, and more recently on political conflict over urbanization, migration, and citizenship in China and India. He is the author of The Power of Place: Contentious Politics in Twentieth Century Shanghai and Bombay (Cambridge University Press, 2019). He has published articles on the Hong Kong protests for Asia-Pacific Journal, Public Seminar, and The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog. His earlier books are Socialist Insecurity: Pensions and the Politics of Uneven Development in China (Cornell University Press, 2010), The Making of the Chinese Industrial Workplace (Cambridge University Press, 2002), and (co-editor) The SAGE Handbook of Contemporary China (SAGE Publications, 2018).

Arunabh Ghosh (BA Haverford; PhD Columbia) is a historian of twentieth century China with interests in social, economic, and environmental history, (transnational) histories of science and statecraft, and China-India history. He is currently an Associate Professor in the History Department at Harvard University. Ghosh’s first book, Making it Count: Statistics and Statecraft in the early People’s Republic of China (Princeton University Press, 2020), offers new perspectives on China’s transition to socialism in 1949 by investigating an elemental but hardly elementary question—how did the state build capacity to know the nation through numbers? He is currently working on two new projects: a history of (small) hydroelectric power in twentieth century China and a history of China-India scientific connections. Ghosh’s work has appeared in the Journal of Asian Studies, Osiris, BJHS Themes, EASTS, PRC History Review, and other venues.


Uday Balakrishnan
Former civil servant, newspaper columnist and public intellectual; Former Registrar and Visiting Faculty, Centre for Contemporary Studies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Mark W. Frazier
Professor of Politics and Co-Director of the India China Institute, The New School for Social Research

Arunabh Ghosh
Associate Professor of History, Harvard University

Tong Lam
Associate Professor of History; Acting Director, Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies at the Asian Institute, Munk School, University of Toronto

Diana Fu
Associate Professor of Political Science; Director, East Asian Seminar Series at the Asian Institute, Munk School, University of Toronto

Main Sponsor

Asian Institute


Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies


East Asian Seminar Series at the Asian Institute

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