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China Beyond the Sound Bites

Jeff Wasserstrom is a Chancellor's Professor of History at U.C. Irvine and a leading expert on modern China. In his talk at the Athenaeum, he will explain what an informed global citizen ought to know about China: the most populous and arguably fastest changing country in the world. Wasserstrom is a frequent contributor to newspapers, magazines and blogs, and co-editor of Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land (2012). Wasserstrom’s interest in China is varied, and he says it ranges from “the gendered symbolism of revolutions to patterns of student protest, and from the way that globalization affects urban life and popular culture to American images of Asia.” His research in these areas helps shed light on rapidly evolving Chinese society.

Wasserstrom is the author Student Protests in Twentieth-Century China: The View from Shanghai (1991), Global Shanghai, 1850-2010 (2009), and his talk at the Athenaeum will focus on his most recent publication, China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (2010). This book explores how China’s past shapes its present, and corrects many common misconceptions about Chinese culture and politics. Wasserstrom’s work is crucial to helping us understand this emerging global power.