Why was the Chinese Communist Party able to stay in power when so many similar organizations began to tumble in Central and Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s? How have the grievances that drive Chinese protesters out onto the streets and the tactics they use once mobilized changed or stay consistent since the June 4th Massacre? What stands out most now about China's 1989 when placed into historical and comparative perspective, and are these the same things that seemed special about it a quarter century or so ago? How much-- or little -- did the Hong Kong protest wave of 2014 have in common with the upheavals of 1989 in mainland China or other Communist Party-run settings? These are the kinds of broad questions this talk will address, drawing on the speakers long-term research on mainland protests and on the ground observations of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement during a brief stay in the city last fall.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor's Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, and the Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies. His books include Student Protests in Twentieth-Century China (1991), the research for which was done in Shanghai while the 1986 - 87 protest wave that served as a kind of dress rehearsal for the much larger demonstrations to come in 1989 was underway, and China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (2010 and 2013 editions). He served as a consultant for the award-winning documentary "The Gate of Heavenly Peace" and has contributed reviews and commentaries on Chinese history and politics to a wide range of general interest periodicals, from the TLS to New Left Review, Dissent Magazine to the New York Times.
May 19, 2015 | 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
TOPOI Lecture Room
Hittorfstr. 18 (front building)