An idealistic communist in 1952, by 1987 astrophysicist Fang Lizhi was a "dissident." Professor Link will discuss Fang's recently-published autobiography which shows how science, not political theory, caused this transformation.
Perry Link is Chancellorial Chair for Teaching Across Disciplines at the University of California, Riverside, and Professor emeritus of East Asian Studies at Princeton University. He has written or edited 20 books and numerous articles on modern Chinese language, literature, popular culture, intellectual history, and politics. Known as one of the West’s leading experts on China, its language, culture, and people, the Chinese government has banned him from travel to China since 1995.
A multi-disciplinarian at heart, he embraces teaching and research topics across a variety of disciplines. He finds the recent tendency toward specialization in the humanities and social sciences as potentially worrisome. To illustrate, he asks: “China has an immense recorded history, a rich cultural tradition, a booming economy, a difficult political situation, a very complex society, a distinctive and varied language, an archeological record, the world's biggest population, and more. Which discipline can you do without if you want to understand ‘China’?”
Dinner reservations may be made on the Athenaeum open events page; no reservation is necessary for the talk.