"China and the Re-Centering of East Asia" Special Lecture Series with Brantly Womack

August 5, 2021

China and the Re-Centering of East Asia

A Special Lecture Series

Overview: China’s emergence in this century is historic in two senses. It is currently transforming international relationships, especially in East Asia. Secondly, these developments have deep resonance with the central role of China in the pre-modern era. Understanding future global prospects requires an appreciation of the continuities of East Asian geopolitics as well as the changing structure of current relationships.

The University of Virginia is sponsoring a special series of four lectures by Professor Emeritus Brantly Womack that will present a comprehensive analysis of China’s once and future centrality in East Asia. The lectures will cover: 1. The basic elements of China’s centrality and their evolution in the pre-modern era; 2. The decentering of Asia in the era of Western modernization, putting China on the periphery of the modern globalized world; 3. The reemergence of China as a central modern force in East Asia; 4. The global implications of a China-centered East Asia, including effects on the U.S.-China relationship.

After each lecture there will be a commentary by a distinguished Asian scholar: Wang Gungwu of National University of Singapore; Wu Yushan of Taiwan’s Academia Sinica; Qin Yaqing of Shandong University; and Evelyn Goh of Australian National University. The commentaries will followed by audience Q&A.

The program will occur on successive Thursday evenings starting September 16 from 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST. The first session will be on September 16, the second on September 23, the third September 30, and the final session on October 7. They will be held on Grounds, but they will also be available on Zoom and Youtube Live. The Asia-based commentators will present their remarks on livestream. All are welcome to both the on-Grounds and the Zoom or Youtube Live programs. 

Zoom Registration Links

September 16 - Introduction and China’s Premodern Centricity

September 23 - Modernization and the Decentering of Asia

September 30 - Convergence and Asian Recentering

October 7 - China, East Asia, and the Reconfiguration of a Multinodal World

Youtube Live Links

September 16 - Introduction and China's Pre-Modern Centricity (Livestream recording)

September 23 - Modernization and the Decentering of Asia

September 30 - Convergence and Asian Recentering

October 7 - China, East Asia, and the Reconfiguration of a Multinodal World

The Idea

This project is a rethinking of the obvious: China was the center of the traditional Sinitic world of East Asia; China was marginalized during the era of Western modernization; in the current era China has returned to a central position in East Asia broadly defined; and the transformation of East Asia has important consequences for the global configuration. But why the discontinuity between the three eras? What linkage is there? What difference does it make for China, for East Asia, and for the world? Is the current fixation on the U.S.-China rivalry too uniformed about history and too narrow in its bipolar focus?

The reason that the obvious begs rethinking is that the depth of current changes in regional and global dynamics requires a reconsideration of the general framework of our perceptions. China is not simply returning to its past glory, nor is it simply becoming the majority stakeholder in existing regional structures. And what is happening in East Asia is increasingly vital to the rest of the world. Despite the grand disjunctions between China’s traditional centrality, its decentering in the modern era, and its present increasingly central role, are there underlying factors of continuity? What is the salience of the different characteristics of each era?

The key mysteries are those of the resilience of China’s centrality in the pre-modern era, the loss of that resilience during Western modernization, and its return in the global present. Culture and power, though important, are inadequate explanations. Rather, three more basic structural realities underlie traditional China’s resilience, its marginalization, and its current return. They are its presence, its population, and its production. These have changed drastically in salience over the three eras, and China’s current integration with East Asia is producing a complex and major node of global reality. The cohesiveness of the node will depend on whether China can be credible in its respect for the autonomy of its neighbors.

Since this is a study of relationships, special attention will be paid to the transformations of connectivity among the three eras. The traditional era was characterized by thin connectivity. Connectivity is necessarily thinner given the agrarian subsistence and transportation of the era, but just as important was China’s prioritization of maintaining official control of the relationship rather than expanding contact. By the Ming dynasty this had evolved into the tribute system, a mechanism for managing disparities of interests and perceptions. East Asia’s geopolitics was characterized by resilient asymmetry centered on China rather than international conquest or balance among presumptive equals. But even well-managed asymmetry involves quite different exposures and perceptions between center and localities.

Western powers came to East Asia with sharp connectivity. Colonization and the Western presence more generally was intensely focused on global profit and ownership. Sharp connectivity fractured Asia and targeted its productivity toward distant global service. By 1880 China was no longer the primary concern of any of its neighbors. China became a non-presence except as a target of opportunity, and as a non-colony its population and production were largely irrelevant. China became confused periphery of an Asia directed elsewhere.

The return of China’s centrality was a complex process, and the pre-reform period 1949 to 1980 played a foundational role. Nevertheless, until the unfolding of the era of reform and openness no one would have thought of China as central to East Asia—except, perhaps, as a problem. Then the era of thick connectivity began to emerge, first within China itself as marketization, urbanization, and transportation developed, and then externally through the cumulative momentum of its economy and trade. The domestic priority of maximum growth metastasized since 2008 into a general drive toward massive, multidimensional international contact. A modern, unitary, and globally enmeshed China became a central presence to its neighbors. Its population became the most organized one-fifth of the global market, and the scale of its production transformed the global economy, most intensely in East Asia. As in the pre-reform era, the neighbors’ vulnerability to China gives them a more jaundiced view of China’s success, and China has yet to demonstrate a credible acknowledgement of their autonomy.

China’s rise and integration into its region are leading parts of a general reshaping of global reality in this century. Although global media tends to focus on China as a national actor in tension with the United States, the general success of East Asia and its matrix of asymmetric relationships suggest a different paradigm for the global political economy. Rather than a bipolar hegemon-challenger model, a pattern has emerged in which the negotiated management of disparities creates a multinodal web of asymmetric relationships. States are aligned by partnerships rather than by alliances because their task of securing a variety of international prospects becomes more pressing than that of defending against a specific enemy. However, regardless of China’s new centrality to East Asia, the region is not united around China, and the prerequisite of smooth regional functioning is global inclusivity.

The dynamics of East Asia are not the only major current of this century. More generally, the faster relative growth of productivity in the developing world increases the weight of demographic power vis-à-vis the wealth power of the developed world. Meanwhile, the COVID pandemic as well as global warming highlight the general challenges of ecological sustainability. But in these new venues of cooperation and conflict the shape and mass of East Asia will be increasingly important.

The Participants

A broad analytic narrative benefits from different perspectives, and this series includes instant “peer reviews” by some of Asia’s leading scholars. The questions to be addressed are larger than any one answer, and the views of the discussants will open new fields of discussion.


Brantly Womack is Professor Emeritus of Politics at the University of Virginia and Senior Faculty Fellow at the Miller Center. His interest in the general dynamics of Chinese domestic development and international relationships has led to a number of books including Asymmetry and International Relationships, China among Unequals, China’s Rise in Historical Perspective, and China and Vietnam: The Politics of Asymmetry. Most recently his research has focused on China’s re-emergence and its implications.




Session 1: Wang Gungwu is a legendary historian of China and of its external relationships. He began his studies with research on the evolving structure of power between the Tang and Song dynasties, and his later research encompassed the Chinese diaspora, and the linkage of traditional and contemporary notions of China’s role. His recent autobiography, Home is Not Here, relates his personal experience growing up as an overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia, and another recent work is China Reconnects: Joining a Deep-rooted Past to a New World Order. Wang is the founding director of the East Asia Institute of National University of Singapore and University Professor there. Before moving to Singapore he was Vice-Chancellor of Hong Kong University, and before that Director of Australian National University’s Research School of Asian and Pacific Studies.


Session 2: Wu Yu-Shan is Academician and Distinguished Research Fellow of Taiwan’s Academia Sinica and founding director of its Institute of Political Science, as well as professor of political science at National Taiwan University. He is a leading scholar on comparative political development in Asian politics, European communism, and cross-Strait politics. Recent books include The Chinese Models of Development: Global, Local and Comparative Perspectives and Resurgence of China: A Dialogue Between History and International Relations (in Chinese).



Session 3: Qin Yaqing is emeritus President of China Foreign Affairs University, Chancellor of the Diplomatic Academy, and one of China’s pre-eminent theorists of international relationships. He is a member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Group of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Qin translated Wendt’s Social Theory of International Politics into Chinese. His book, A Relational Theory of International Politics, was published by Princeton in 2018. Qin is particularly interested in the globalization of international relations theory.




Session 4: Evelyn Goh is the Shedden Professor of Strategic Policy Studies and Director of Research at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at Australian National University. She is a leading expert on the changing political and diplomatic contours of East Asia. Her work on the hedging strategies of China’s neighbors is well known. Goh recently co-authored with Barry Buzan Re-thinking Sino-Japanese Alienation: History Problems and Historical Opportunities, and current projects include 'Strategic Diplomacy' for the 21st Century.




Session 1: Ambassador Stephen Mull is UVA’s Vice Provost for Global Affairs. Before coming to UVA he was Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, and ambassador to Poland and to Lithuania. Under President Obama Mull was lead coordinator of Iran nuclear implementation. He holds the rank of Career Ambassador.




Session 2: Harry Harding is University Professor at UVA and founding dean of the Batten School. He is also a Yushan scholar at National Chengchi University in Taipei, and before that a visiting professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is the author of several classic works on China’s domestic and international politics, including China's Second Revolution: Reform After Mao and A Fragile Relationship: The United States and China Since 1972. He is currently completing work on the evolution of American China policy from the Clinton Administration to the Trump Administration.



Session 3: Leonard Schoppa is Professor of Politics at UVA and an expert on Japan, China’s most diffident neighbor. He is the author of Bargaining with Japan: What American pressure can and cannot do, Education reform in Japan: A case of immobilist politics, and Race for the Exits, and is currently working on the politics of aging societies.




Session 4: Amitav Acharya is the UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance and Distinguished Professor at the School of International Service, American University. He is the first non-Western scholar to be elected President of the International Studies Association. His recent books include The Making of Global International Relations (with Barry Buzan), Constructing Global Order, and The End of American World Order. In 2020, he received American University’s highest honor: Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award.




The primary sponsor is the East Asia Center. Co-sponsors are: The Miller Center, UVA Global, and the Politics Department.

Spring 2021 Newsletter

July 5, 2021

Sharp Elbows: Competition in China's Internet and Investor Implications

May 17, 2021

Rick Carew, visiting lecturer at the University of Virginia and former veteran Wall Street Journal reporter, will discuss the state of competition in China’s internet sector and its implications for investors and innovation in the years ahead in his talk "Sharp Elbows: Competition in China’s Internet and Investor Implications," Thursday, May 20, 4:00 p.m. EST for UC-San Diego’s 21st Century China Center. He argues that China’s technology giants have engaged in a fierce winner-takes-all battle for dominance in industries ranging from e-commerce to ride-hailing and messaging. Now, Chinese regulators are looking more closely at how they oversee national champions like Tencent and Alibaba by stepping up anti-trust enforcement and expanding oversight for tech firms.

This growing power of Big Tech and calls for a stronger government role in oversight is part of a global trend that includes U.S. investigations into Big Tech leaders like Google and Amazon. China’s decision to halt the record-breaking $34 billion initial public offering of Jack Ma’s fintech giant Ant Group epitomizes changing attitudes at senior levels of the Chinese government.

Carew considers what we can expect in terms of new regulation and evolving business practices as China’s tech firms adapt to change. He also shares what these changes mean for investors and executives involved in China’s tech world. This webinar is moderated by UC San Diego professor Victor Shih.

Event registration is available here.

Recovering First Patients: De-perilizing the Anglophone Pandemic Archive on SARS

April 29, 2021

Rethinking World Literature: China as Method

Sponsored by the Asian Cosmopolitanisms Lab of IHGC at the University of Virginia

Belinda Kong (Bowdoin College), May 14, 2021, 12:00 pm–1:30 pm EST

Recovering First Patients: De-perilizing the Anglophone Pandemic Archive on SARS 

As the first global pandemic of the 21st century, the 2003 SARS outbreak was as an uncanny precursor to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Who were its first patients, how were they narrated by the anglophone media, and what alternative archives can we look to to reconstruct their stories? Focusing on three SARS index cases—the first patients in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore—this talk examines anglophone formations of sinophobic racism and bioorientalism as they intersect with contemporary global discourses of infectious disease crisis. 

Belinda Kong is John F. and Dorothy H. Magee Associate Professor of Asian Studies and English at Bowdoin College. She is author of Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square: The Chinese Literary Diaspora and the Politics of Global Culture (Temple University Press 2012) and is working on a new book project, What Lived Through SARS: Chronicles of Pandemic Resilience, which examines global pandemic discourses around the 2003 SARS epidemic, with focus on everyday cultures of epidemic life that emerged from the outbreak’s epicenters in China and Hong Kong. 

Please join the event with the following link:

Meeting ID: 954 1521 3770

Passcode: 547362

"The Subjectivity of the Translator" with Jeremy Tiang

April 16, 2021

Please join us Wednesday evening, April 21, at 7pm EST for a special talk by author and translator Jeremy Tiang. 


The Subjectivity of the Translator

Jeremy Tiang discusses the process of translating the late Yeng Pway Ngon's Unrest (available from, and what it means to be a Singaporean Chinese translator working within his own community and culture. What happens to the metaphor of translation as a 'bridge' when both ends of the bridge are located in the same place? Can the translator truly be neutral, or should we pay more attention to who is doing the translating?

Jeremy Tiang is a novelist, playwright and translator from Chinese. His translations include novels by Yeng Pway Ngon, Su Wei-Chen, Yan Ge, Zhang Yueran, Lo Yi-Chin, Chan Ho-Kei and Li Er. His plays include Salesman之死, A Dream of Red Pavilions, and translations of scripts by Chen Si’an, Wei Yu-Chia, Quah Sy Ren and others. His novel State of Emergency won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2018. He lives in Flushing, Queens, and is a member of the translation collective Cedilla & Co.


Apr 21, 2021 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Follow this link to the registration page!

East Asian Cultural Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic

April 16, 2021

All are welcome to join the "East Asian Cultural Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic" webinar, scheduled for Monday, April 26, 7:00- 8:30 PM EST. 

Event registration is available at:

The event is sponsored by the Buckner W. Clay Endowment for the Humanities through the Institute of the Humanities and Global Culture.

While policy and strategy decisions have dominated mainstream media coverage of other nations’ handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is also important to consider how at the level of everyday life, societies and individuals have been experiencing the upheavals caused by the pandemic. This panel focuses on East Asian cultural reactions to the worldwide crisis. 

Jaeho Kang (Seoul National University) will describe how South Korean responses to the pandemic have been shaped by a confluence of technological and traditional cultural factors, and are interpreted along these rubrics. Chenshu Zhou (University of Pennsylvania) will be examining online video representations of Wuhan under lockdown that make use of drone footage. Anri Yasuda (University of Virginia) will analyze how works of Japanese literature written during the pandemic underscore a pervasive ‘crisis ordinary’ mentality that precedes Covid-19. After the presentations, there will be time for dialogue and exchanges about the shared themes, as well as the marked differences, amongst the contemporary East Asian socio-cultural contexts under discussion. 

If you have any questions, please contact Professor Anri Yasuda

"Democratic Cultures in Cold War East Asia" Online Workshop

April 12, 2021

The webinar "Democratic Cultures in Cold War East Asia," organized by UVA Professors of History Chad Diehl and Joseph Seeley, will be held on Thursday, April 15, 6:00-7:30pm via Zoom.

The event is sponsored by the Buckner W. Clay Endowment for the Humanities through the Institute of the Humanities and Global Culture.

Register to attend here: 


Featured speakers:


“Art in Japan After the 1960 Anpo Protests”  

Nick Kapur, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor, Department of History, Rutgers University, Camden 


“‘March for the Beloved’ and the Sonic Makings of a Counter-Republic in South Korea” 

Susan Hwang, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor of Korean Literature & Cultural Studies, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures, School of Global & International Studies, Indiana University Bloomington 


“Taiwan’s Postwar Democratic Culture: Newspapers, Magazines, and Basketball Games”  

Dominic Meng-Hsuan Yang, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Missouri-Columbia 


Faculty Panel on Minari featuring Sylvia Chong

April 7, 2021

Following the free virtual screening of Minari on April 17, 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. EST (see this link for ticket registration info), the Asian Cosmopolitanisms Lab will be sponsoring the following panel on Minari featuring our own UVa faculty:

Faculty Panel on Minari

Friday, April 23, 2:30 - 4:00 p.m. EST

Sylvia Chong (American Studies and English)

Shilpa Davé (Media Studies and American Studies)

Samhita Sunya (Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures)

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 949 0417 0638

Passcode: minari2021

Please enjoy the film on April 17, and come join us for a discussion of Minari's themes and production on April 23—just in time to hopefully watch the Academy Awards on April 25, where Minari has nominated for 6 awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (Lee Isaac Chung), Best Actor (Steven Yeun), and Best Supporting Actress (Youn Yuh-jung).

"‘A Race So Different’: Asians and Asian Americans in UVA’s History" by Professor Sylvia Chong

March 12, 2021

Sylvia Chong, associate professor of English and American studies and director of the Asian Pacific American studies minor at the University of Virginia, had her article ‘A Race So Different’: Asians and Asian Americans in UVA’s History | UVA Today ( published in UVA Today, March 11, 2021.

"Race and Religion in China" Informed Perspectives Webinar

March 11, 2021
Informed Perspectives
Race and Religion in China
March 18, 6 pm EST | Zoom Webinar

What are the variety and vitality of lives like in a country where religion is often tightly controlled? Join award-winning journalist Ian Johnson, scholar Catherine Hardie (Hong Kong Baptist University), and UVA’s Charles Laughlin, who discuss the entanglements of religion, race, and politics in China.

Sponsored by the Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs

Photo © Jue Liang



Father and Sons: Khro phu lotsāba's Journey to Nepal During the End of the World

February 18, 2021

Next Monday, Feb 22, Péter-Dániel Szántó (Leiden University) will give a talk in the SEASONS series entitled "Father and Sons: Khro phu lotsāba's Journey to Nepal during the End of the World." The talk will begin at 12:30 p.m. EST

Please register here. If prompted, the password is case-sensitive SEASONS.


“Rethinking World Literature: China as Method” Talk Series from Asia Cosmopolitanisms

February 16, 2021


“Rethinking World Literature: China as Method”

Sponsored by the Asian Cosmopolitanisms Lab, which is part of the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures.

Friday March 5, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Rivi Handler-Spitz, Associate Professor, Macalester College
“From the Early Modern to Graphic Narrative: Reflections on Methodology”

Register in advance for this meeting:

*Copies of Prof. Handler-Spitz’s book, Symptoms of an Unruly Age: Li Zhi and Cultures of Early Modernity are available to the first 20 local registrants! Instructions for pick-up will be sent after registration.*  

Friday April 2, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Michael Gibbs Hill, Associate Professor, College of William & Mary
“Arabic Literature and the Boundaries of Translation History in Modern China”

Register in advance for this meeting:

Friday May 14, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Belinda Kong, Associate Professor, Bowdoin College
"Recovering First Patients: De-anglophonizing the Pandemic Archive on SARS”

Register in advance for this meeting:

An American International Lawyer Considers China’s Belt & Road: A Discussion

February 15, 2021

On Thursday, February 25, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. we will be joined for a talk by David Day, a leading international lawyer in the Indo-Pacific region, as part of UVA’s Assessment of China’s Belt & Road Initiative project. David is also the Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Belt & Road Task Force and will bring a unique view on the BRI and its implications as a legal practitioner.

The title of his talk: "An American International Lawyer Considers China’s Belt & Road: A Discussion."

Registration for the event is available at the following link.

Nelson & Coughlin Lectures on Southeast Asia this Spring

February 9, 2021

As part of a special lecture series on Southeast Asia the UVA East Asia Center is proud to host Hugh R. Clark, Professor Emeritus of History and East Asian Studies at Ursinus College, and Amitav Acharya, Distinguished Professor of International Relations at American University, this semester. Both events are free to join and will be live streaming on the Zoom and Youtube live platforms.

Hugh R. Clark will discuss "What Do Historians Mean When They Say 'China'?" Friday, February 26, from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. EST. Event registration is available at

Amitav Acharya will be discussing his new book on "ASEAN and the Regional Order in Southeast Asia." Friday, April 2, from 9:00 - 10:30 a.m. EST. Event registration is available at

Esther Lorenz Receives ACSA Creative Achievement Award for Research on “Kinesthetic Montage Hong Kong”

February 4, 2021

Esther Lorenz, Assistant Professor at the UVA School of Architecture, has been awarded the 2021 Creative Achievement Award for her teaching and research on “Kinesthetic Montage Hong Kong” by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). 

“Each year, ACSA honors architectural educators for exemplary work in areas such as building design, community collaborations, scholarship, and service. Award winners inspire and challenge students, contribute to the profession’s knowledge base, and extend their work beyond the borders of academy into practice and the public sector. The Creative Achievement Award recognizes a specific creative achievement in teaching, design, scholarship, research, or service that advances architectural education.”

The full list of 2021 winners is available at:

"Miraculous Images in Asian Traditions," Edited by Dorothy Wong, Released as New Volume of Ars Orientalis

January 29, 2021

The new edition of Ars Orientalis"Miraculous Images in Asian Traditions," one of two issues of vol. 50, features work by our East Asia Center director Dorothy Wong, who writes the introduction and serves as editor for the publication. Published by the National Museum of Asian Art (Freer and Sackler Galleries), the 2020 edition of Ars Orientalis explores transformations—of a representation into a divine manifestation,  and of art history in an increasingly digital era. Considering miraculous images across Asia, seven articles reveal the variety of sacred icons and their active and diverse roles in mediating spiritual relationships. The authors delve into the complexity of textual traditions and the complicated question of duplication.

Spring 2021 East Asia Center Event Schedule Preview

January 27, 2021

East Asia Center Spring Speaker Series Event Schedule

Friday, February 5 – Tim Grose (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology)

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. ‘Uyghurs are Uyghurs. They Aren’t Muslim:’ Forging ‘Modern’ Chinese Citizens in Xinjiang

Friday, February 19 – Xiang “Sean” Gao (The University of Delaware/East China Normal University)

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Creating Shanghai Sonatas – A New Musical Based on the True Stories of the Shanghai Jewish Refugees during WWII

Friday, March 5 (Date TBD) – Paul Groner (UVA Department of Religion, emeritus) and Dale Copeland (UVA Department of Politics)

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. East Asia Center Faculty Forum (Talk titles TBD)

Friday, March 19 – Xin Conan-Wu (The College of William & Mary)

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. The Walled Grove: Chinese Gardens in History

Thursday, April 8 – Jeffrey Nicholaisen (Duke Kunshan University)

7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Inequality of Equalities: The Taiwanese Buddhist Encounter with Liberal Humanism and Taiwan’s Indigenous People

Friday, April 16 – Aike Rots (University of Oslo)

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Talk title TBD

Friday, April 23 – David Fedman (The University of California-Irvine)

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Beyond the Green Archipelago: Japan’s Empire of Forestry in Korea and Beyond

Special Southeast Asia Events

Friday, February 26 – Hugh Clark (Ursinus College, emeritus)

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. What Do Historians Mean When They Say ‘China’?

A Nelson Lecture on Southeast Asia

Friday, April 2 – Amitav Acharya (American University)

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Book Launch: ASEAN and Regional Order: Revisiting Security Community in Southeast Asia

A Coughlin Lecture on Southeast Asia

“Assessment of China’s Belt and Road Initiative” Event Schedule

February (Date TBD) Liaqat Ali Shah (Centre of Excellence for CPEC)

Talk title TBD

Thursday, February 25 – David F. Day (Belt & Road Task Force, American Bar Association)

2:30 – 5:00 p.m. Talk title TBD

Friday, March 12 – Sophia Kidd (Sichuan University)

8:00 – 9:30 p.m. Minxin Xiangtong and People-to-People (P2P) Relations along the New Silk Roads (NSR)

Friday, March 26 – Daniel S. Markey (Johns Hopkins University)

3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Book Launch: China’s Western Horizon: Beijing and the New Geopolitics of Eurasia

Friday, April 16 – Marlene Laruelle (George Washington University)

3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Central Asia's Perceptions of the BRI: Hopes and Concerns

Thursday, April 22 – Hans Holzhacker (Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program)

Talk title TBD

Time for a Reset? U.S. - China Relations during the New Biden Administration

January 6, 2021

Topic: Time for a reset? U.S.-China relations during the new Biden Administration

 Description: Have major recent developments in China and the United States raised the possibility that the U.S.-China relationship, which has become increasingly strained over the last 10 years, might now move in new and more positive directions? The first panel will look at the November 2020 elections in the United States, providing an analysis of the election campaigns, the outcome of the election, and the presidential transition. It will then examine the Fifth Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee in October, which discussed the foreign and domestic economic policies underlying China’s new five-year plan that will begin in 2021. The second panel will analyze the implications of these events for Chinese policy toward the U.S. and American policy toward China.

Panel I: Domestic Politics in the U.S. and China

1.    Larry Sabato, founder and director, Center for Politics, University of Virginia

2.    Chris Lu, Teresa A. Sullivan Practitioner Senior Fellow, Miller Center, University of Virginia

3.    Xin Qiang, deputy director, Center for American Studies, Fudan University

4.    Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, Practitioner Senior Fellow, Miller Center, University of Virginia

Moderator: Syaru Shirley Lin, Compton Visiting Professor in World Politics, Miller Center, University of Virginia

Panel II: Implications for U.S.-China Relations

1.    Harry Harding, faculty senior fellow, Miller Center, University of Virginia

2.    Evan Feigenbaum, practitioner senior fellow, Miller Center, University of Virginia

3.    Wu Xinbo, dean, Institute of International Studies; director, Center for American Studies, Fudan University Fudan University

4.    Song Guoyou, deputy director, Center for American Studies, Fudan University

Moderator: Stephen Mull, vice provost of global affairs, University of Virginia

When: Monday, January 11, 2021 8:00-10:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)

Where: This is a hybrid event on Zoom, with a live audience at Fudan and a virtual audience elsewhere.


·         Register for the Zoom Webinar here

·         More details in English on the Miller Center website here

·         会议预告: meeting announcement in Mandarin on UVA China Office WeChat account here

Cohosted by the Miller Center at UVA and the Center for American Studies at Fudan.

Local CHINA Town Hall with S. Victoria Shen "U.S.-China Environmental Cooperation" Tuesday, 11/10, at 6:00 p.m.

November 6, 2020

Please join us for a Local CHINA Town Hall, led by Shiran Victoria Shen, interdisciplinary environmental scholar and Assistant Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of Virginia, on the topic of "U.S.-China Environmental Cooperation." The town hall will be moderated by Charles Laughlin, Professor and Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

The town hall will be held on Tuesday, November 10, from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. EST

To join, please login to the Zoom stream available at

Our local town hall will be immediately preceding the National Keynote, with Ray Dalio and moderator Stephen Orlins, beginning at 7:00 p.m. To attend, please login to the Zoom stream at

Ellen Bayard Weedon Lectures on the Arts of Asia "Making the Buddha: The Creation of the Buddha’s Image in Early South Asia"

September 28, 2020

Ellen Bayard Weedon Lectures on the Arts of Asia | Making the Buddha: The Creation of the Buddha’s Image in Early South Asia

Thursday, October 1 @ 6:30 pm

by Robert DeCaroli, Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art History, George Mason University

Register here.

Robert DeCaroli is a Professor of South and Southeast Asian art history at George Mason University. He is a specialist in the early history of Buddhism and has conducted fieldwork in India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia. His first book, Haunting the Buddha: Indian Popular Religions and the Formation of Buddhism was published by Oxford University Press 2004, and his second book, Image Problems: The Origin and Development of the Buddha’s Image in Early South Asia, was published by the University of Washington in 2015. More recently, he co-curated the Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice across Asia exhibition at the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. He is also the author of several articles and book chapters. He was awarded a Getty Research Institute Fellowship and is currently a Robert N.H. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellow.

Architect Thomas Jefferson and His Influence in China Panel Discussion

September 17, 2020

Architect Thomas Jefferson

and His Influence in China


Thursday, September 24th
8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. China Time

This is an online event

All alumni, parents, and friends are invited to join us as we learn more about the influence of Chinese architecture on Thomas Jefferson and his influence on architecture in China. We'll hear from three speakers involved with the publication of Presidential Architect: Thomas Jefferson, written by a group of UVA graduate students and edited by Yunsheng Huang, Associate Professor Emeritus, Architectural History, UVA's School of Architecture.


  • Yunsheng Huang, Associate Professor Emeritus, Architectural History, UVA's School of Architecture
  • Xiangnan Xiong (ARCH '10), Assistant Professor, School of Design, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Zhe Dong (ARCH '20)


  • Andrew Johnston, Director, University of Virginia Program in Historic Preservation and Associate Professor, Architectural History, UVA's School of Architecture

The presentation will be in English, with Chinese translation. The Zoom link to join us will be sent via email before the event.


Register Now


About the book:

The six authors of Thomas Jefferson: Presidential Architect are all alumni or faculty of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson. In the seven chapters of the book, they present a collection of rich and multifarious themes about architect Thomas Jefferson, including his architectural education and thoughts, his vision of the capital planning of Washington DC, the academical neverland he conceived—University of Virginia, Monticello built to his desired ways of living, and the interactions between his work and the architecture in modern China. This book offers the first comprehensive examination of Jefferson’s architect career to a Chinese-speaking audience. Through a scrutiny of his architectural works, it highlights the extraordinary ideals and aspirations they embody. The book also includes valuable texts and drawings, many of which are published in China for the first time.

For more information on this event, please contact Meggie Chopade, Senior Associate Director, UVA Clubs, at

April Herlevi Presenting in "Strategic Interests, Security Implications: China, Africa and the Rest" Virtual Conference

September 17, 2020

April Herlevi, a recent UVA Politics PhD graduate, will be presenting in the first panel of the China-Africa Research Initiative's 2020 Virtual Conference "Strategic Interests, Security Implications: China, Africa and the Rest" September 22, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m. For more information and the registration link follow the link below:

Aynne Kokas Discusses Disney's "Mulan" Remake

September 10, 2020

Aynne Kokas (Media Studies) co-wrote a column for Nikkei Asian Review about Disney's live-action remake of "Mulan" and Hollywood facing a fresh test in its bid to gain audiences in China without alienating film viewers elsewhere in the world: Disney's magical thinking won't keep politics away from 'Mulan'

Kokas also talked with CNN Business about how COVID restrictions on U.S. theaters has led to a potentially "transformative" moment for Hollywood as it premieres "Mulan" and other highly anticipated movies in theaters overseas instead: To be a success, 'Mulan,' may have to conquer the world

Fall Center Online Events Schedule Released

August 31, 2020


9-11 3:15pm Rick Carew (UVA), Charles Laughlin (UVA)

The Great Firewall: How China Divided the Global Internet

Hand in Hand (2011): Art and Politics in Taiwanese Documentary Film

9-18 3:15 pm Kerem Cosar (UVA)

The Geopolitics of International Trade in Southeast Asia

Part of UVA's "Assessment of China's Belt and Road Initiative" Project

9-25 3:15 pm Bob Davis (Wall Street Journal), Lingling Wei (Wall Street Journal)

Book launch: China and the U.S. -- A Superpower Showdown (Could Relations Get Any Worse?)

10-2 3:15pm Evan Feigenbaum (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace & UVA)

China, Asia, and the US: Foreground and Lost Ground

Co-sponsored with the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality

10-9 3:15 pm Ezra Vogel (Harvard University, Emeritus)

China-Japan: 1895-2010, The Interim of Japan on Top

Coughlin Lecture on East Asia

10-16 3:15pm Graham Odell (California State University, Long Beach)

Book launch: State Reconstitution in China, Japan and East Africa

10-23 3:15pm Emma Teng (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Learning from the Hidden Histories of Transpacific Mixed Families between China & the US

Co-sponsored with the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality

10-29 (Thursday) 5:00pm Sonya Lee (University of Southern California)

Island Illusion: Recreating Avalokiteshvara at Mt. Putuo in Sichuan during Song-dynasty China

11-6 3:15pm David Boyd (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

Dialogue and Dialect in Mieko Kawakami’s Breasts and Eggs

11-13 3:15pm Eddy U (University of California, Davis)

Creating the Intellectual: Chinese Communism and the Rise of a Classification

11-20 12:00pm (TBD) Naomi Standen (University of Birmingham)

Taking China out of Premodern Global History: Bodies, Threads and Fabrics

Co-sponsored with the Medieval Studies Program

COVID-19: A Timeline of Events and the Response Across East Asia

August 17, 2020

As the world community grapples with the challenges of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we wanted to take a look at the timeline of major events related to the disease, as well as highlight some of the comparisons in the responses of the peoples and governments of East Asia to the virus. We will regularly update the links in this feature as events continue to take shape globally.


An excellent timeline of events, particularly as events relate to Asia and the Middle East, is available here.

The critical moments detailing the evolution of response to the coronavirus are also presented in timeline form here.

On nearly all metrics East Asia has contained the pandemic more successfully than Western countries, culture and attitudes toward privacy and authority play a big role in this, from 5/15/20.

However, might there be two different versions of the coronavirus, one afflicting the East, one the West? From 5/8/20.


Why has containment in China been so much more successful than in the US? From 6/26/20.

Second wave of coronavirus breaks out in Beijing as China adopts "wartime" measures to contain spread throughout the capital, from 6/16/20.

How Wuhan tested 6.5 million in a matter of days, from 5/26/20.

Two weeks of zero local infections: How Hong Kong contained its second wave of Covid-19, from 5/5/20.

China imposes restrictions on the publication of academic research on the origins of the novel coronavirus, from 4/13/20.

China releases new regulations in order to prevent asymptomatic “silent carriers” of coronavirus from causing a second wave of infections, from 4/8/20.

Wuhan ends lockdown--the city's reopening comes after only three new coronavirus cases were reported in the previous three weeks, one day after China reports no new deaths for the first time since January, from 4/7/20.

World Health Organization epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said that data out of China — frequently under international scrutiny — suggests that 75 percent of novel coronavirus patients originally listed as asymptomatic go on to develop symptoms, from 4/3/20.

Wang Zhonglin, Wuhan's Communist Party chief, says the risk of a resurgence there remains high and that authorities must maintain prevention and control measures, from 4/3/20.

China believed they had coronavirus effectively managed, but new and asymptomatic cases are arising, from 4/6/20.

A comparison of democratic and autocratic responses to disease control, from 2/24/20.


How Hong Kong beat coronavirus and avoided lockdownfrom 7/3/20.


For an in-depth timeline of major events related to Taiwan's response to the coronavirus, please see our article here.

How Taiwan's use of digital health infrastructure helped contain covid-19, from 6/30/20.

How Taiwan beat the coronavirus, from 6/16/20.

Comparison of Taiwan and South Korea's response to the virus with the United States, from 3/25/20.

Taiwan, seen as a model for their response to the outbreak (having only 200 cases), and their relationship to the World Health Organization, from 3/30/20.

Praise for Taiwan's response, from 3/17/20.


For an in-depth timeline of major events related to Japan's response to the coronavirus, please see our article here.

A new uptick in cases has some worried over fears of complacency, and the Japanese government is requesting businesses ensure 70% of staff operates from home, from 7/26/20. 

Japan has lifted a state of emergency imposed due to the coronavirus in 39 out of 47 prefectures, after a sharp fall in new infections, from 5/14/20.

Japan's Coronavirus cases fall sharply without compulsory measures, from 4/27/20.

Japan doctors warn of health system 'break down' as cases surge, from 4/18/20.

Did Japan wait too long to declare an emergency and impose stringent restrictions like other nations? From 4/7/20.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faced public backlash after he said the government would distribute two reusable cloth face masks per household, from 4/2/20.

What initial steps did Japan take to keep Covid19 under control? From 3/25/20.

A brief tweet thread on Abe and Japan’s response.


Second wave of Covid-19 infections appears in Seoulfrom 6/22/20.

How South Korea avoided a coronavirus disaster, from 5/12/20.

Highlights of South Korea's approach to dealing with the virus threat, from 4/18/20.

South Korea imposes new travel restrictions on people travelling from overseas, from 4/8/20.

How South Korea flattened the curve without stiffling their economy, from 3/23/20.

Comparing the US response to South Korea, with a critique of America's lack of leadership over the critical first six weeks, from 3/28/20.

Concern that the coronavirus may be able to remain in the body and "reactivate" later after 51 recovered patients from the city of Daegu, South Korea, had all spent time in quarantine while recovering from the virus, but were diagnosed again within days of being released, from 4/6/20.


North Korea claims their response to Covid-19 has been a shining success, from 7/3/20.

A closer look at the situation in North Korea, from 7/4/20.


Vietnam's success against coronavirus can be a roadmap to other nations, from 6/29/20.

How Vietnam kept their death toll from the virus at zero, from 5/30/20.

Can Vietnam's success fighting Covid-19 lead to broader social reform? From 6/19/20.

How overreaction led to successful prevention of outbreak in Vietnam, from 5/15/20.

Coronavirus: what’s behind Vietnam’s containment success? From 4/13/20.


Is there reduced risk of covid-19 in high altitude regions? From 6/3/20.

Some of the challenges Nepal has faced, from 8/1/20.


What we can learn from the “second wave” of coronavirus cases in Asia, from 4/17/20.

Asian countries fear coronavirus resurgence as cases in China hit 6-week high, from 4/14/20.

Asian countries impose new restrictions as coronavirus cases come roaring back, from 4/2/20.

Why Asia’s new wave of virus cases should worry the world, from 3/31/20.

What could the West learn from Asia's response to COVID-19? From 3/21/20.


The Covid-19 Riddle: Why Does the Virus Wallop Some Places and Spare Others? From 5/3/20.

Asia may have been right about coronavirus and face masks, from 4/1/20.

A look at masks, and different countries approaches to recommending their use, from 4/4/20.

A description of how canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart, from 3/10/20.