The IGI Series on Global Responsibilities brings multidisciplinary and global perspectives to major contemporary questions. This year’s spotlight on China highlights its international presence and influence today. Beyond geopolitics and security topics, series speakers will examine various global issues and questions relating to climate, trade, technology, economic development, public health, human rights, and higher education.

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Women & Gender in Global Perspectives Program

Title: Resilience Amidst Repression: The Chinese Feminist Movement in the Era of Escalating Authoritarianism"

Speaker: Lü Pin, PhD student in Political Science, Rutgers University

Date: September 12, 2023

Time: 12:00pm (noon)

Location: 306 Coble Hall and via Zoom

Register via: https://forms.illinois.edu/sec/775272977

Lunch will be provided for in-person attendees with registration.

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Lü Pin

 Lü Pin is a prominent Chinese feminist activist and an emerging scholar specializing in Gender and Politics. Her journey in advocating for women's rights began in the late 1990s. In 2009, she established Feminist Voices, a pioneering and the largest new media platform dedicated to women's issues in China, which was banned in 2018. Since 2012, Lü Pin has been dedicated to empowering young feminists and supporting their activism throughout China. After relocating to the U.S. in 2015, she spearheaded the organizing of the diaspora Chinese feminist community.

 

 

 

 

Center for African Studies

Title: African Agency and the Future of Africa-China Engagements

Speaker: Dr. Kwame Adovor Tsikudo, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia

Date: November 1, 2023

Time: 12:00pm (noon)

Location: Room 306 Coble Hall (lunch provided) and via Zoom registration link: https://illinois.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIlcOitqTIrHt36fVX_TOEkZXZnyz0pe_RA#/registration

 

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Kwame Adovor Tsikudo, Ph.D

Dr. Kwame Adovor Tsikudo is an assistant professor of geography and global studies at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Kwame’s research examines the political economy of China-Africa engagements and the role of the African state. The main strands of this research entail linkage creation, state capacity and agency, environmental governance, energy justice, and sustainability. Kwame’s recent work used mixed exploratory methods to investigate how the Ghanaian state shaped the developmental outcomes of the Chinese-financed Bui Hydroelectric Dam. His ongoing project explores the power dynamics of development infrastructures in China-Africa relations. Kwame is a research fellow at Afro-Sino for international relations and serves on the African Geographical Review editorial board.

Africa and China have, over the past two decades, forged robust relationships involving cooperating on issues such as COVID-19, mutual developments, and multilateral bloc voting. While African countries welcome the burgeoning engagement for fulfilling vital fiscal and infrastructural deficits, the extent to which African agency shapes the interactions remains an issue. Drawing on research from Ghana’s Bui hydropower dam, this presentation contextualizes African agency by examining how Chinese African (Ghanaian) employees resisted and challenged poor working conditions and unfavorable labor practices and regimes. This analysis foregrounds micro-scale agency as critical in shaping the future of Africa-China engagements by offering alternative narratives. The discussion challenges the state-centric approach to agency and argues that socio-political contexts, including history, law enforcement, and institutional effectiveness, are prerequisites for successfully exercising agency in Africa-China relationships. The study reinforces the centrality of autonomous, sagacious, and resourceful institutions in facilitating mutual benefits of Africa-China relations. 

Center for East Asian & Pacific Studies

Title: Taiwanese Perceptions of US Credibility in the Taiwan Strait

Speaker: Wen-Chin Wu, Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Political Science, Academia Sinica

Date: November 29, 2023

Location: 306 Coble Hall

 

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Wen-Chin

For decades, the United States has maintained a stance of “strategic ambiguity” with regard to the Taiwan Strait. Although the Taiwan Relations Act states that the US would provide Taiwan with defense articles and services to bolster Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities, the US refrains from officially declaring whether it would intervene in Taiwan's defense in the event of a Chinese attack, leaving room for speculation from both Taiwan and China. While some experts view this as a strategy to achieve "dual deterrence," preventing unilateral changes in the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, it is contended that the lack of clarity regarding the US security commitment to Taiwan may either lead to miscalculate US resolve or undermine US credibility. Consequently, the US needs to implement policies aiming at reaffirming its commitment to Taiwan when necessary. This study presents survey findings from nationally representative samples to systematically show how the Taiwanese perceive US credibility and how they evaluate different US foreign policies toward Taiwan in terms of ensuring Taiwan’s national security. 

Dr. Wen-Chin Wu is an associate research fellow at the Institute of Political Science, Academia Sinica in Taiwan. His research focuses on comparative and international political economy, comparative authoritarianism, and Chinese politics. He received his B.A. from National Chengchi University (NCCU), M.A. from NCCU and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and Ph.D. from Michigan State University. During the 2019-20 academic year, he was a visiting scholar at the Harvard-Yenching Institute at Harvard University. Currently, he also serves as the coordinator of the Institute for Social Science Methodology, and the executive editor of the Chinese Political Science Review.

 

European Union Center

Title: Cities as Actors in the EU Policy towards China

Speaker: Tomasz Kamiński, Associate Professor of Asian Studies, University of Łódź

Date: February 22, 2024

Time: 4:00 pm

Location: Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics Building, 707 S Mathews Ave, Urbana, IL 61801

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Tomasz Kamiński

City diplomacy between EU and Chinese cities has become an increasingly significant layer of bilateral relations. The collaboration between cities is extensive and covers a wide range of thematic areas, with around half of the European cities having partnerships with Chinese counterparts, according to a survey of 745 cities. In my speech, I will analyse the role of cities in the multilevel framework of EU policy towards China. Based on survey results, I will try to unpack the city level of EU relations with China, showing its scope, patterns of cooperation, and potential political impact. I will present theoretical and empirical arguments to support the notion that city diplomacy should have a much more significant impact on EU policy towards China.

Tomasz Kamiński is a political scientist and associate professor at the Faculty of International and Political Studies, University of Lodz. His research activities are concentrated on paradiplomacy and city diplomacy, particularly in the context of EU foreign policy. He has worked on numerous research projects funded by the European Commission (Horizon 2020, Jean Monnet Module) and the Polish National Science Centre. He co-authored a book, "The Role of Regions in EU-China Relations". Please visit his website to find his publications and details about his work: https://tomaszkaminski.eu/.

 

 

 

Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center

Title: Prestige, Manipulation, and Coercion: Elite Power Struggles in the Soviet Union and China after Stalin and Mao

Speaker: Joseph Torigian, American University

Date: March 26, 2024

Time: 12:00 pm

Location: This event will be held virtually over Zoom. To register, please visit https://go.illinois.edu/Torigian

 

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Joseph Torigian

 

 

The political successions in the Soviet Union and China after Stalin and Mao, respectively, are often explained as triumphs of inner‑party democracy, leading to a victory of “reformers” over “conservatives” or “radicals.” In traditional thinking, Leninist institutions provide competitors a mechanism for debating policy and making promises, stipulate rules for leadership selection, and prevent the military and secret police from playing a coercive role. In this book talk, Joseph Torigian argues that the post-cult of personality power struggles in history’s two greatest Leninist regimes were instead shaped by the politics of personal prestige, historical antagonisms, backhanded political maneuvering, and violence. Mining newly discovered material from Russia and China, he challenges the established historiography and suggests a new way of thinking about the nature of power in authoritarian regimes. 

Joseph Torigian is a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover History Lab and an Assistant Professor at American University's School of International Service. 

 

Center for South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies

Title: China and the Middle East through the Lens of the Halal Diplomacy

Speaker: Zaynab El Bernoussi, Visiting Assistant Professor of Social Research and Public Policy, NYU Abu Dhabi

Date: April 9, 2024

Time: 12:00 pm

Registration: https://illinois.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Xm5_Vj0_QGe2E24EY2YOHQ#/registration

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Zaynab El Bernoussi