Guided Opinion for Troubled Times: Origins and Rejuvenation of China’s Directed Public Sphere
Department of Chinese Studies Seminar
Organised by the Department of Chinese Studies in collaboration with the China Studies Centre ‘Language, Literature, Culture and Education’ Research Cluster
Guided Opinion for Troubled Times
Origins and Rejuvenation of China’s Directed Public Sphere
Speaker: Professor Timothy Cheek, Sydney China Distinguished Fellow
What to do about fake news? Why not have smart people guide public opinion? This has been the answer Chinese states have adopted throughout the 20th Century and China’s leaders embrace today. China’s states and intellectuals have operated through three different kinds of public sphere over the past century: print capitalism, the propaganda state, and the directed public sphere. This talk explores the history of these evolving public sphere in China and in particular the directed public sphere as it is rejuvenated under Xi Jinping today. This exercise should help us to understand what intellectuals and other public agents have been trying to do in different public spheres at different moments across the century. It also helps us track the persistence and change of key ideas, key words or political concepts. Finally, these historically specific Chinese public spheres.
Timothy Cheek is Director of the Institute of Asian Research and Professor and Louis Cha Chair in Chinese Research at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs and Department of History at the University of British Columbia. His research, teaching and translating focus on the recent history of China, especially the Chinese Communist Party and intellectual debate in China. He has contributed to scholarly and public conversations on the nature of CCP rule, including “Making China Marxist Again” in Dissent (October 2018). His books include The Intellectual in Modern Chinese History (2015), Living with Reform: China Since 1989 (2006), Mao Zedong and China’s Revolutions (2002) and Propaganda and Culture in Mao’s China (1997), as well as edited volumes, Voices from the Chinese Century: Writings by Contemporary Chinese Intellectuals, with David Ownby and Joshua A. Fogel, Mao’s Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings, 1912-1949, Vol. VIII (2015) with Stuart R. Schram, The Cambridge Critical Introduction to Mao (2010), and New Perspectives on State Socialism in China (1997), with Tony Saich. In recent years Cheek has been working with some Chinese intellectuals to explore avenues of collaborative research and translation.
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