Events and Webinars


Critical China Scholars Present 


Critical Research & Scholar Activism

April 6, 2024 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Cornell-ILR Conference Center, 12th Floor, 570 Lexington Avenue, New York

Come meet other critical China scholars and join in discussions on:

  • Engaging in Critical China Research and Public Discourse


  • Campus Activism and the Politics of Higher Education

RSVP HERE: and please share with your lists!


Pathologies of Governance: Lockdowns, Shut-Offs, and Chokeholds in the Time of COVID-19 (1/30/2021 )

China’s Capitalism and the World (11/19/2020)

Anti-China Politics in the US Election (10/28/2020)

China’s Rural Capitalism: Land, Labor, and Environment (9/30/2020)

Viral Politics: Left Perspectives on the World and China

  1. Against Capitalism and Imperialism (6/19/2020)
  2. Against Racism and Nationalism (7/2/2020)


Pathologies of Governance: Lockdowns, Shut-Offs, and Chokeholds in the Time of COVID-19

January 30th, 2021 11 AM EST (8 AM PST / 9:30 PM India / 12: 00 AM Jan 31st Hong Kong)

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, countries around the world have been implementing various measures in efforts to curb the spread of the virus. One of the most frequent measures – the lockdown -- invokes the manifestation of the “state’ in all its heterogeneous and ambiguous effectivity. While particular groups decry the over-reach of the state in limiting their individual freedoms, mobility, and economic livelihoods, others critique the state for its inadequacies in protecting citizens from crime, economic destruction, and public health endangerment. The questions of what role(s) the state should play, as well as the extent to which populations should be governed and disciplined in response to crises have never been more contentious.

The global pandemic underscores the need for the Left to reassess, and ultimately to reimagine, the relationship of the state and society beyond the categorical dichotomies of authoritarianism and liberal democracy. The current COVID-induced moment attenuates the Left’s long-standing critiques of and ambivalence toward the state and its normative roles in societies worldwide. On the one-year anniversary of the Wuhan lockdown, we invite critical scholars, who have been analyzing the unfolding of COVID-19, in China, India, Europe, and the US, to speak about these issues. Our webinar addresses the ways in which the Left could empower the underprivileged, the racialized, and the vulnerable populations of the world to claim their rights to sustainable lives and livelihoods at a time of immeasurable crisis.

Moderator: Yige Dong - University at Buffalo, SUNY


  • Zhan Yang  - The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Marius Meinhof - Bielefeld University
  • Gautam Bhan  - Indian Institute for Human Settlements
  • Brendan McQuade  - University of Southern Maine

Co-sponsors: Gongchao; Made in China Journal; positions politics

China’s Capitalism and the World

The past decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in the pace and scale of global capitalist expansion; the rapidity of consequent social transformations is in part due to China's increasing participation in these processes. The Belt and Road Initiative and its associated infrastructure projects have received a huge amount of attention, but this webinar expands the focus to less understood and less often seen aspects of the reorganization of global capital. Based on extensive research and innovative approaches, the speakers will make visible the ways in which Chinese investment in South America, Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa is reshaping local and global life, resource extraction, and relations of political domination and resistance.

Thur, Nov. 19, 2020, 5-6:30 EST

Co-sponsors: Gongchao; Made in China Journal; The Nation

Moderator: Eli Friedman, Cornell University


  • Patrick Bond, School of Government, University of the Western Cape
  • Juliet Lu, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Atkinson Center for Sustainability & Department of Global Development, Cornell University
  • Farai Maguwu, Executive Director, Centre for Natural Resource Governance, Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Omar Manky, Department of Social and Political Sciences, Universidad del Pacífico
  • Gustavo Oliveira, Global & International Studies, University of California, Irvine

Anti-China Politics in the US Election

Though US elections generally turn on domestic issues, the relationship with China this year has become a potent campaign issue. Years of rising tension between elites in the two countries coincided with the mass trauma of the coronavirus pandemic and the Republicans’ attempt to racialize it. In the process, American military, economic, and racial anxieties are finding new expression, posing a complex challenge to progressive movements. This webinar will discuss the impact of anti-China politics in the US election domestically and internationally and explore how anti-racist and global solidarity activists are responding.
Wed, Oct. 28, 7-8:30 EDT
Cosponsored by: Justice is Global, Made in China Journal, positions politics, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office
Organizer: Jake Werner, Boston University
  • Christian Sorace, Colorado College
  • Shen Lu, Journalist
  • Khury Petersen-Smith, Institute for Policy Studies
  • Tobita Chow, Justice Is Global

China’s Rural Capitalism: Land, Labor, and Environment

Crucial to understanding contemporary hostility between the Chinese and US states is China’s growing significance and positioning within global capitalism. While often viewed from abroad primarily in terms of an urban, export economy, China’s capitalism is uneven, varied, and full of tensions. Beginning a new series on “China’s Capitalism,” this webinar looks at the emergence, dynamics, and effects of capitalist agrarian change in China.

Wednesday, September 30th, 7-8:30pm EDT

[Audio File]

Moderator: Sigrid Schmalzer, University of Massachusetts Amherst


  • Alexander F. Day, Occidental College
  • Zhan Shaohua, Nanyang Technological University
  • Jia-Ching Chen, UC Santa Barbara
  • Julia Chuang, Boston College
  • Joshua Goldstein, University of Southern California

Viral Politics: Left Perspectives on the World and China

A two-part roundtable held electronically June 18 and July 2, 7:00-8:30 EDT

Presented by Critical China Scholars and co-sponsored by Verso Books, Haymarket Books, n+1, Made in China Journal, The Nation, New Politics, Spectre, positions, the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), Justice is Global Alliance. [Facebook event page]

The COVID-19 pandemic has become the latest locus of growing US-China tensions, opening crucial conversations for the international left related to the principles of anti-capitalism, anti-authoritarianism, anti-racism, and anti-imperialism. As critical scholars of China, we will take up these issues in a two-part webinar series.

We begin with the questions: How can we move from scapegoating China to developing an analysis of capitalism, authoritarianism and imperialism as global systems that produce crises and injustices? How can we address proliferating social inequalities, political oppression, and environmental degradation amid geopolitical tensions? How do we counter China-bashing abroad without sidelining the legitimate concerns of Chinese citizens and social movements in China? How do we address rising xenophobia, racism, and nationalism in pandemic times? And, what is the role of China scholars in producing critical knowledge and engaging with political questions?

Session 1: Against Capitalism and Imperialism (Thur, June 18, 7-9 p.m. EDT)

[Audio File]

Moderator: Rebecca Karl, NYU


  • Yige Dong, University at Buffalo, SUNY
  • Eli Friedman, Cornell University
  • Andrew Liu, Villanova University
  • Isabella Weber, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Jake Werner, Boston University
  • Zhun Xu, Howard University

Session 2: Against Racism and Nationalism (Thur, July 2, 7-9 p.m. EDT)

[Audio File]

Moderator: Aminda Smith, Michigan State University


  • David Brophy, University of Sydney
  • Fabio Lanza, University of Arizona
  • Alex Lee, University of Sydney
  • Kevin Lin, Hong Kong University
  • Sigrid Schmalzer, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Shan Windscript, University of Melbourne