Speaking to Theory and Speaking to the China Field

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Friday, September 21st, 2018

Friday, September 21, 201810:00AM - 12:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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Bringing knowledge about China to the disciplines has reduced the outsized role that research on Europe and America has on many topics. But mainstreaming China studies also gives rise to certain tradeoffs. How should we manage these tradeoffs and produce research that is both true to China and contributes to the social sciences? In the last 30 years, China scholars have developed many strategies to navigate the territory between area studies and the social sciences. I myself have vacillated about how area studies and political science should interact and inform each other. How are China scholars addressing this issue now, in the era of mixed methods, experiments, “big data,” and causal inference?


Kevin O’Brien is the Bedford Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute of East Asian Studies at UC-Berkeley. A student of contemporary Chinese politics, he has written on legislative politics, local elections, fieldwork strategies, popular protest, policy implementation, protest policing, and political reform. His most recent work centers on the Chinese state and theories of popular contention, particularly as concerns protest control and types of repression that are neither “soft” nor “hard.”


Dasha Kuznetsova


Kevin O'Brien
Bedford Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Lynette Ong
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Asian Institute


East Asian Seminar Series at the Asian Institute

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