UC Berkeley Haas Junior Scholars Conference: Multi-disciplinary Interrogations of State and Society in China

DATE: October 6-7, 2012

PLACE: 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor

SPONSORS: The Institute of East Asian Studies, the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, and the Department of Sociology
Support provided by the Walter and Elise Haas Chair Endowment at the Institute of East Asian Studies



The Haas Junior Scholars Program, in conjunction with the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, is organizing a conference on changing state-society boundaries to be held on October 6th and 7th, 2012.

Recent developments in contemporary China — the expansion of the internet, new forms of sociality and collective action, the complexity of post-WTO economic reforms, new modes of governance and state adaptation, and so forth — have changed the grounds upon which state-society relations are constituted and played out. Such processes of liberalization and marketization have also given scholars increased access to institutions and social life in China, generating new perspectives and methodologies from which to explore shifts in state practices. Thirty years into China's post-Mao reform and on the eve of the transition to a post-Hu era, this conference thus presents an opportunity to re-examine key underpinnings of the role and functioning of the state in the Reform era. We aim to problematize the notion of "state," "society" and "market"; and to challenge, interrogate and deconstruct these core concepts, which have long been the building blocks of contemporary humanities and social sciences research in China.

The conference will bring together early-career China scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to explore recent transformations of state power and authority; varying definitional frameworks for discussing the disaggregated Chinese state; and new interdisciplinary lenses to analyze China's multi-vocal society and state-encumbered market. We encourage submissions that engage with the following themes:

  1. State & Participatory Culture: This theme situates the state within fields of tension between individual agency and societal structures, global flows and local dynamics, and macro-level politics and everyday life experiences.
  2. State in Contentious Politics in the New Millennium: This theme focuses on how the Chinese state deals with challenges from below, particularly how new technologies affect the position, opportunity structures, and strategies of protest groups.
  3. State in the Market: This theme explores how the Chinese state adapts to global economic conditions, and how it adapts global market conditions to local contexts.
  4. Problematizing the State: This theme explores how aspects of collective life are eclipsed when we assume the existence of a "state," and how different disciplines utilize and critique the concept of the state.



Poster for 'Multi-disciplinary Interrogations of State and Society in China' conference

8:00 – 9:00: Registration & Breakfast

9:00 – 9:30: Opening Remarks
Professor Wen-Hsin Yeh, Director of IEAS, Walter and Elise Haas Chair Professor in Asian Studies and Richard H. and Laurie C. Morrison Chair in History

9:30 – 11:00: First Panel
Panel Chair: Lynn T. White (Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scholar, Woodrow Wilson School, Politics Department, and East Asian Studies Program, Princeton University)

  1. "The Local Corporatist State and State-NGO Collaborations in China," Reza Hasmath (University of Oxford)
  2. "From Belief to Action: The Social Capital of Chinese Christian Communities and Their Political Potential," Jess Sun (Stanford University)
  3. "Reassembling Civil Society in Contemporary Urban China: Actor-Network-Theory of Chinese Independent Film Consumption," Seio Nakajima (Department of Sociology, University of Hawaii at Manoa)
  4. "Multiple Chinese States," Jennifer Hsu (Department of Political Science, University of Alberta)

11:00 – 11:15: Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:30: Second Panel
Panel Chair: Emily Chua (Department of Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

  1. "Structural Violence and Strategies of Resistance in the Uyghur-Chinese Marketplace," Chris Sullivan (Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley)
  2. "Restructuring State Boundaries: A Case of Zhejiang Migrants in Beijing," Geeta Kochhar (School of Language, Literature & Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University)
  3. "Escaping 'Inseparability': Uyghur Graduates of the 'Xinjiang Class' and Contesting Membership in the Zhonghua Minzu," Timothy Grose (Indiana University)

12:30 – 14:00: Lunch

14:00 – 15:30: Third Panel
Panel Chair: Seung-Youn Oh (Center for the Study of Contemporary China, University of Pennsylvania)

  1. "Company that Governs: Reassessing the Functional Boundary between State and Corporation in the Living World of Peasant Workers," Thomas Peng (Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley)
  2. "Urban Self-Revaluation: An Alternative Way of Urban Regeneration with State-Owned Enterprises as Mediators, Shenzhen, China," Ting Chen (Department of Architecture, Urban Design Strategies and Resources, ETH Zurich)
  3. "Ingredients for Success: The Role of Cheap Land Allocations and State Patronage in the Emergence of China's Urban Real Estate Sector," Jennifer Choo (Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley)
  4. "Agribusiness and the Marketization of China's Aid Programs in the Greater Mekong Sub-region," Xiaobo Su (Department of Geography, University of Oregon)

15:30 – 15:45: Coffee Break

15:45 – 17:30: Fourth Panel
Panel Chair: Suzanne Scoggins (Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley)

  1. "Inner Party Adaptation in Reforming China," Charlotte Lee (Department of Government at Hamilton College)
  2. "China's Social Management Innovation: Rise of the Bridge Organizations," Ketty A. Loeb (Department of Political Science, University of Washington)
  3. "Holding 'China Inc.' together in the Era of Globalization: The Nomenklatura System and the Governance of China's Large Centrally Controlled Enterprises," Li Chen (Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge)
  4. "The State in the Institution: The Consumer Confidence System," Erika Kuever and Qiao Wei (Department of Anthropology, Indiana University)
  5. "Building Regulatory Coherence in a New Era: China's Export Sector," John Yasuda (Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley)

18:30: Grand Reception


8:30 – 9:00: Breakfast

9:00 – 10:15: Keynote Speaker
Roselyn Hsueh (Assistant Professor at Temple University)

10:15 – 10:30: Coffee Break

10:30 – 12:15: Fifth Panel
Panel Chair: Nick Bartlett (Department of Medical Anthropology, UCSF)

  1. "From the Party Line to the Attention Law: Celebrity Blogs of Sina.com," Shaohua Guo (Colgate University)
  2. "How Innovation Grows with State-owned Newspaper- A Case Study of Online Media Grassroots Report," Linjun Fan (Cheung Kong School of Journalism and Communication, Shantou University)
  3. "The Chinese State's Resilience in the Web 2.0 Era: A Case Study of 'Sina Weibo'," Li Shao
  4. "When Fun-Searching Netizens Meet State Censorship: Pop Activism in Chinese Cyberspace," Rongbin Han (Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley)
  5. "Liberal News Values among Journalists in the Jianghu," Emily Chua (Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley)

12:15 – 13:30: Lunch

13:30 – 14:45: Sixth Panel
Panel Chair: Alexsia Chan (Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley)

  1. "Resources, Grievances, or the Internet? Participation in Contentious Politics in China," Wenhong Chen and Yanlong Zhang (College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University)
  2. "Land for Welfare in China," Meina Cai (Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University)
  3. "The Origin of Land Taking Powers in Modern China: Conceptualization and Contestation," Peng Chun (Oxford University)

14:45 – 15:00: Coffee Break

15:00 – 16:15: Seventh Panel
Panel Chair: Lina Hu (Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley)

  1. "Idling after Mao: Addiction, Labor and State Treatment in the People's Republic of China," Nick Bartlett (Department of Anthropology, University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley)
  2. "The Banality of Sing Red – Hidden Production of Everyday Life in Chongqing's Red Culture Campaign," Xiao Mei (Department of Social Sciences, University of Cambridge)
  3. "Evil Landlord in Chinese State and Society: Its Invention in State-Sponsored Art, 1940s-1960s," Guo Wu (Allegheny College)

Download a copy of the agenda here (updated October 5, 2012).

Download a copy of the conference poster here.



Nick Bartlett
Nick Bartlett is in the final stages of the medical anthropology joint program at University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley. His research considers historical shifts in China's Reform period by exploring the lives of long-term heroin users in a mining city near the Vietnamese border.

Dr. Meina Cai
Meina Cai is currently an An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science and M.Sc. in Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Ting Chen
Ting Chen is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Architecture Urban Design Strategies and Resources at ETH in Zurich.

Professor Wenhong Chen
Wenhong Chen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radio-TV-Film, College of Communication, at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Toronto. Before joining the faculty, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University. Her research has been focused on understanding the implication of new communication technologies in entrepreneurial, organizational and multiethnic settings through network theories and methods. Her research has been published in Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Information, Communication & Society, Information Society, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, City & Community, and Management and Organization Review.

Jennifer Choo
Jennifer Choo is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Emily Chua
Emily Chua is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently writing her dissertation on journalism in contemporary China.

Professor Linjun Fan
Linjun Fan has been an Assistant Professor/Lecturer at Shantou University since 2009, after getting her Master's in Journalism at UC-Berkeley. Prior to that she was a reporter at China Central Television, and earned a bachelors degree in International Relations from Beijing University.

Timothy Grose
Timothy Grose is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. His dissertation research focuses on the "Xinjiang Class" boarding school program, and his work has been featured in Asian Studies Review, The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, and Chinese Education and Society.

Professor Shaohua Guo
Shaohua Guo is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Colgate University.

Rongbin Han
Rongbin Han is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His academic interests center on comparative democratization, media politics, social activism, and socio-political reform in authoritarian regimes, with a focus on China. His dissertation project, The Border of the Borderless Internet: Governance and the Impact of Online Political Communication in China, explores why China's authoritarian regime remains resilient despite the internet's pluralizing and liberalizing challenges.

Professor Reza Hasmath
Reza Hasmath (Ph.D., Cambridge) is a Lecturer in Chinese Politics at the University of Oxford. His current research examines contemporary state-NGO relationships in China; and the education and labour market experiences of ethnic minorities in the Canadian, American, Australian and Chinese jurisdictions.

Professor Jennifer YJ Hsu
Jennifer YJ Hsu is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta, Canada. She is currently researching on the role of the local Chinese state in the development of the NGO sector.

Lina Hu
Lina Hu is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Professor Geeta Kochhar
Geeta Kochhar has been an Assistant Professor (Chinese) at Jawaharlal Nehru University since March 2006. Her main research interests: urbanization and development processes in China, spatial restructuring and demographic changes in China and changing Chinese society. She was the recipient of the Asia Fellowship (Beijing, Sept. 2010 – June 2011), Asian Scholarship Foundation Fellowship Programme.

Erika Kuever
Erika Kuever is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington. Her research is on consumer rights and their connection to ideas of citizenship in contemporary urban China. She is currently relying on the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest to help her finish writing her dissertation.

Professor Charlotte Lee
Charlotte Lee is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Hamilton College.

Chen Li
Chen LI is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Politics & International Studies, the University of Cambridge. He holds dual Bachelor's degrees in International Studies and Economics from Peking University in China, and MPhil in Development Studies at Jesus College, the University of Cambridge, where he is a Kwok Scholar.

Ketty A. Loeb
Ketty Loeb is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington.

Xiao Mei
Xiao Mei is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cambridge. She received her BA (Honours) in Sociology from Carleton University, Canada and an MSc in sociology from the London School of Economics, UK. Her research interests include theories of practice, the sociology of everyday life, culture and collective memory, and contemporary Chinese society.

Professor Seio Nakajima
Seio Nakajima teaches sociology at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. He has conducted organizational analyses of the Chinese film industry, as well as ethnographies of Chinese film audiences and consumption. His recent interests include the sociology of art, and his 'Prosumption in Art' (2012) has appeared in American Behavioral Scientist.

Dr. Seung-Youn Oh
Seung-Youn is a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of Contemporary China at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in international relations and comparative politics in East Asia. She will teach at Bryn Mawr College in 2013. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from UC Berkeley.

Chun Peng
Chun Peng is a DPhil Candidate in Law at Oxford University.

Thomas Peng
Thomas Peng is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and is interested in labor studies, development theory and Chinese society. He received his B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Sociology from National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan.

Li Shao
Li Shao received an MA degree in Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently in his gap year and preparing to apply to Ph.D. programs in Political Science or in Communication. He is interested in the relation between China's regime change and the power of media and the Internet.

Professor Xiaobo Su
Xiaobo Su is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Oregon. His research interest is in China's transnational regionalization in the case of Yunnan and mainland Southeast Asian countries.

Chris Sullivan
Chris Sullivan is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Graduate Group in Sociology and Demography at the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation research examines structural violence and ethnic domination in China from historical, ethnographic and quantitative perspectives.

Jesse Sun
Jesse Sun is a graduate student at Stanford University. He graduated with honors in International Relations from Calvin College, MI, in 2012. His research explores state-society relations in China through the lenses of politics, history and religion.

Guo Wu
Guo Wu earned his Ph.D. in imperial and modern Chinese history from State University of New York at Albany in 2006 and is currently assistant professor of history and Asian Studies at Allegheny College, Pennsylvania. Dr. Wu has published a book on late Qing merchant reformer Zheng Guanying and articles on Qing ethnic relations in Southwest China, early Chinese communism, and Chinese film.

John Yasuda
John Yasuda is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His primary research focus centers on governance in China. His current project examines China's food safety regime and explores how the complexity and size of China's market poses significant regulatory challenges.

Professor Yanlong Zhang
Yanlong Zhang is an Assistant Professor at the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, in Beijing, China.



The conference — UC Berkeley Haas Junior Scholars Conference: Multi-disciplinary Interrogations of State and Society in China — will be held at the Institute of East Asian Studies – 2223 Fulton Street, 6th floor conference room

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