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March 27, 2010

CCS Director blogs from the Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting

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Mary E. Gallagher is the director of Center for Chinese Studies and associate professor of political science at the University of Michigan. She graciously agreed to guest blog from the Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting 2010, currently underway in Philadelphia.

My time at AAS was relatively short. I attended the AAS Presidential Address and listened to incoming president Robert Hefner speak on the religious resurgence in Asia. Although I've heard the statistics about China, I didn't realize that the resurgence was so far-reaching and across many different religions. He also mentioned that women and lay people are playing more important roles than in previous movements.

My panel on political fragmentation of the Chinese State with Sida Liu of Wisconsin and Yue Zhang of University of Illinois-Chicago and Lynn White of Princeton University as discussant was surprisingly well-attended given that it started at 8:30 AM. While we all talked about very different issue areas - Sida on the legal profession, Yue on urban preservation, and me on legislative fragmentation - there was some common ground and a good discussion prompted by Lynn's very generous comments.

From there, I went to a panel for Chinese labor law geeks! I love that people are talking about the labor contract law so much. For years I felt like I was the only person paying any attention to any labor law in China (well, that's an exaggeration, but in political science for sure). Actually political scientists are still not talking about it very much. This panel was mostly sociologists and industrial relations specialists. I just have to hang out with a different group.

Lunch was had at the Reading Market with friends from graduate school and "PIP" squeaks from the National Committee on US-China Relations "Public Intellectual Program." It's a program to foster more connections between academics and policymakers on China. I was in the first cohort of PIP-ers from 2005-2007 and they now have a new group. Given the rhetoric in Washington DC on China these days, I wonder if we are having any effect.

In the afternoon, I went to the large social science panel on adaptive authoritarianism organized by Elizabeth Perry and Sebastian Heilmann. They have a book coming out soon on the topic. It was an interesting but frustrating panel. I felt that the discussion was too vague to get a handle on. But I guess that just means I'll have to buy the book....

Posted by zzhu at March 27, 2010 11:41 PM