Science Interrupted: A Conversation with Timothy G. McLellan

In Science Interrupted: Rethinking Research Practice with Bureaucracy, Agroforestry, and Ethnography (Cornell University Press, 2024), anthropologist Timothy G. McLellan investigates and breaks down audit cultures and the practice of dealing with bureaucracy within scientific research. The book takes place within a transnational agroforestry research institute in southwest China, the Institute for Farms and Forests (IFF), […]

Dissident at the Doorstep: A Conversation with Yangyang Cheng

In the 2000s, a blind Chinese barefoot lawyer named Chen Guangcheng became a global icon of freedom and democracy for suffering years of unlawful imprisonment because of his fight against China’s draconian One-Child Policy. When, one night in 2012, he staged a daring escape from the house where he was being detained and eventually managed […]

Transpacific Reform and Revolution: A Conversation with Zhongping Chen

In Transpacific Reform and Revolution: The Chinese in North America 1898–1918 (Stanford University Press, 2023), Zhongping Chen traces the networks in which reformers around Kang Youwei and revolutionaries around Sun Yat-sen operated. Chen focuses mostly on Canada and the United States. His time frame is the period between the failure of the Hundred Days’ Reform […]

The Master in Bondage: A Conversation with Huaiyin Li

In The Master in Bondage: Factory Workers in China, 1949–2019 (Stanford University Press, 2023), Huaiyin Li reconstructs the realities of worker performance and factory governance under Mao Zedong and after. Drawing from fresh data collected through oral histories, he reassesses the extent to which Chinese workers were becoming ‘the masters’ in the People’s Republic of […]

Cultural Revolution and Revolutionary Culture: A Conversation with Alessandro Russo

Alessandro Russo’s groundbreaking work Cultural Revolution and Revolutionary Culture (Duke University Press, 2020) revisits the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution—a revolutionary process the inheritance of which is still open, even though most of the world, and China in particular, has all but disowned it. In his book, Russo excavates the unfinished work, theoretical debates, and possibilities […]

On the Edge: A Conversation with Margaret Hillenbrand

In On the Edge: Feeling Precarious in China (Columbia University Press, 2023), Margaret Hillenbrand probes precarity in contemporary China through the lens of the dark and angry cultural forms that chronic uncertainty has generated. She argues that a vast underclass of Chinese workers exist in a state of ‘zombie citizenship’—a condition of dehumanising exile from […]

Surveillance State: A Conversation with Josh Chin

In their new book, Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control (St Martin’s Publishing Group, 2022), investigative reporters Josh Chin and Liza Lin examine the emergence of automation-assisted digital surveillance in China and in spaces of Chinese development around the world. Drawing from reporting done in Xinjiang, eastern China, […]

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The Left in China: A Conversation with Ralf Ruckus

In The Left in China: A Political Cartography (Pluto Press, 2023), Ralf Ruckus traces the fascinating history of left-wing, subversive, and oppositional forces in China over the past 70 years. He looks at the interconnected movements since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, drawing out the main actors, ideas, and actions. […]

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Digital Masquerade: A Conversation with Jia Tan

Jia Tan’s Digital Masquerade: Feminist Rights and Queer Media in China (NYU Press, 2023) interrogates the intersections across digital media of feminist rights activism, queer culture, and neoliberalism in an illiberal context. Drawing on a wide range of artefacts—interviews with feminist advocates and queer media practitioners, participant-observations at queer community events, and cultural analysis of […]

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Clean Air at What Cost? A Conversation with Denise van der Kamp

China’s green transition is often perceived as a lesson in authoritarian efficiency. In a mere few years, the state managed to improve air quality drastically without apparent resistance from the market. In Clean Air at What Cost? The Rise of Blunt Force Regulation in China (Cambridge University Press, 2023), Denise van der Kamp explains how […]

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