"China's Brave New World and Other Tales for Global Times"
November 15, 2007
A talk by Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.
If Chairman Mao came back to life today, what would he think of Nanjing's bookstore, the "Librairie Avant-Garde", where it is easier to find primers on Michel Foucault's philosophy than copies of the Little Red Book? What does it really mean to order a latte at Starbucks in Beijing? Is it possible that Aldous Huxley wrote a novel even more useful than Orwell's 1984 for making sense of post-Tiananmen China...or post-9/11 America? In these often playful, always enlightening "tales", Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom poses these and other questions as he journeys from 19th-century China into the future, and from Shanghai to Chicago, St. Louis, and Budapest. He argues that simplistic views of China and Americanization found in most soundbite-driven media reports serve us poorly as we try to understand China's place in the current world order...or our own.
Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom's other books include Student Protests in Twentieth-Century China: The View from Shanghai. He lives in Irvine, California.
From the World Beyond the Headlines series.