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From Mao’s Third Front to Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative
: A Conversation with Covell Meyskens

In the early 1960s, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began investing large sums of capital in the interior of the country with the stated goal of building up military and civilian infrastructure to safeguard China from a potential American or Soviet military threat. Often neglected in histories of contemporary China, this so-called Third Front campaign […]

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Primo Levi, Camp Power, and Terror Capitalism: A Conversation with Darren Byler

What does Italian writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi have to tell us about life in reeducation camps in Xinjiang today? What role does labour play in these facilities? What is terror capitalism and how does it relate to other frontiers of global capitalism? Can there be such a thing as ‘benign’ surveillance? These and […]

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The War on the Uyghurs: A Conversation with Sean R. Roberts

Sean Roberts, an associate professor of international affairs and anthropology at George Washington University, is the author of The War on the Uyghurs: China’s Campaign against Xinjiang Muslims (Manchester University Press and Princeton University Press, 2020), the first book-length treatment of the Chinese state’s campaign against the Uyghur population of Xinjiang. The text situates the […]

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Revisiting Minjian Intellectuals A Conversation with Sebastian Veg

In the past few months, I collaborated with Xu Xibai, a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford, to translate into Chinese Sebastian Veg’s groundbreaking book Minjian: The Rise of China’s Grassroots Intellectuals (Columbia University Press, 2019). We embarked on this project with the conviction that this translation will not only inspire debate on the […]

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Beijing from Below: A Conversation with Harriet Evans

In her new book, Beijing from Below: Stories of Marginal Lives in the Capital’s Center (Duke University Press, 2020), Harriet Evans captures the last gasps of subaltern life in Dashalar, one of Beijing’s poorest neighbourhoods. Between the early 1950s and the accelerated demolition and construction of Beijing’s ‘old city’ in preparation for the 2008 Olympic […]

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A Tribute to Daniel Kane

I first met Daniel Kane, or Danny as he was known to friends, during a week-long symposium on Manchu culture and literature that took place inside a grand country house in South Wairarapa, New Zealand, in 2018. The purpose of that gathering was to discuss the acquisition of Chinese language, thought, and art by the […]

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Securing China’s Northwest Frontier: A Conversation with David Tobin

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Over the past two decades, a rhetoric of terrorism has been used to conflate the criminal actions of a relatively small number of people with the religious and cultural practices of more than 12 million Uyghurs who call the southern part of the Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) their ancestral home. This has had a dramatic […]

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The Children of China’s Great Migration: A Conversation with Rachel Murphy

In recent decades, China has witnessed the largest movement of people in world history, with hundreds of millions of rural migrants floating between the cities where they work and the countryside where they make their homes. This has had dramatic implications for family life in rural China, and in the 2010s more than 61 million […]

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Workers and Change in China: A Conversation with Manfred Elfstrom

In his new book, Workers and Change in China: Resistance, Repression, Responsiveness (Cambridge University Press, 2021), Manfred Elfstrom delves into the paradox that sees the Chinese Party-State addressing workers’ grievances while coming down increasingly hard on civil society groups and individual activists promoting labour rights. Examining both the causes and the consequences of protest through […]

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Red Silk: A Conversation with Robert Cliver

In Red Silk: Class, Gender, and Revolution in China’s Yangzi Delta Silk Industry (Harvard University Press 2020), Robert Cliver reconstructs the history of Chinese silk production in the Yangzi River Delta during the wars, crises, and revolutions of the twentieth century. Based on extensive research in Chinese archives and focussed on the 1950s, the book […]

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