Challenging the Mandate of Heaven: Social Protest & State Power in China
Noon lecture by Prof. Elizabeth Perry (Harvard Univ.)
Friday, February 22, 2002Social science theories of contentious politics have been based almost exclusively on evidence drawn from the European and American experience, and classic texts in the field make no mention of either the Chinese Communist revolution or the Cultural Revolution--surely two of the most momentous social movements of the twentieth century. China's record of popular upheaval, moreover, stretches back well beyond this century, indeed all the way back to the third century B.C. This is a direct effect of the Confucian "mandate of heaven" which bestowed instant legitimacy on successful rebel leaders. Professor Perry's recent book --with the same title as this lecture -- by bringing together studies of protest that span the imperial, Republican, and Communist eras, introduces Chinese patterns and provides a forum to consider ways in which contentious politics in China might serve to reinforce, refine or reshape theories derived from Western cases. Elizabeth J. Perry, Director of the Fairbank Center, is Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard. She joined the Harvard faculty in 1997, having taught previously at the Universities of California (Berkeley), Washington, and Arizona. Born in Shanghai, China and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Professor Perry received her Ph.D. in political science in 1978 from the University of Michigan. Professor Perry's research focuses on popular protest and grassroots politics in China, from the nineteenth century to the present. The recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship, Professor Perry sits on the editorial boards of nearly a dozen major journals. She is the author of eight books. Her book Shanghai on Strike: The Politics of Chinese Labor (Stanford Univ. Press, 1993) received the John King Fairbank prize of the American Historical Association.
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
279 Haines Hall