AAS Annual Meeting

China and Inner Asia Session 238

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Session 238: Roundtable: Intellectual Politics and Media Politics in Contemporary China

Organizer: Xueping Zhong, Tufts University, USA

Discussants: Christopher L. Connery, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA; Yuezhi Zhao, Simon Fraser University, Canada; Kaibin Xu, Temple University, USA; Xinyu Lu, Fudan University, China; Xueping Zhong, Tufts University, USA; Haiping Yan, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

Increasingly, scholars and intellectuals actively participate in major media phenomena and events in contemporary China. “Media events” of this kind include the popular “Lecture Forum” (baijia jiangtan) from the CCTV (Chinese Central Television), other talk shows and lectures which feature “media intellectuals” and promote their influence, televisual stories, and media-led attacks on scholars/intellectuals. The issue before the roundtable will be: Given the rising interplay between intellectual politics and media politics in contemporary China, what is urgently needed is a serious intellectual response that situates the themes of analysis within the national, regional, and international contexts of political and intellectual struggles in China and beyond. By analyzing the intimate and complicated relationship between the media and scholarship, between scholarship and politics, and between scholarship as practice and the role of intellectuals in the Chinese movements, participants at this roundtable will explore the following questions: How to understand the role of the media, in relation to academia, when it comes to the possibility or impossibility for real debates about real social and political issues in today’s China? How to understand China’s academic community today? What role does the interplay between intellectual politics and media politics play in informing some of the dominant “academic” discourses in China and where do the major struggles reside? What kind of critical discourses need to develop to critically engage the political and ideological issues within?