Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements

Author Conversations Series, Fall 2020


Grzegorz Ekiert, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Government; Director, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University

Elizabeth J. Perry, Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government, Harvard University; Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute

Xiaojun Yan, Associate Professor, University of Hong Kong

Discussant: James Robson, James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations; William Fung Director of the Harvard University Asia Center

Produced by the Harvard University Asia Center

Grzegorz Ekiert is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Government at Harvard University, Director of the Minda de GunzburgCenter for European Studies (CES), and Senior Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. At CES, he co-chairs the Seminar on Democracy – Past, Present, Future. Ekiert's research and teaching interests focus on comparative politics, regime change and democratization, civil society and social movements, and East European politics and societies. His books include: Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements, co-editors Elizabeth J. Perry and Yan Xiaojun, (Cambridge University Press, 2020); Capitalism and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe: Assessing the Legacy of Communist Rule, co-editor Stephen Hanson, (Cambridge University Press 2003); Rebellious Civil Society. Popular Protest and Democratic Consolidation in Poland, co-authored with Jan Kubik, (University of Michigan Press 1999); The State Against Society: Political Crises and Their Aftermath in East-Central Europe, (Princeton University Press 1996). His papers have been published in numerous social science journals and edited volumes in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Elizabeth J. Perry is Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of the Harvard-YenchingInstitute. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and is a former President of the Association for Asian Studies and former Director of Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Her research focuses on the history of the Chinese revolution and its implications for contemporary Chinese politics. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a corresponding fellow of the British Academy, Professor Perry is the author or editor of more than 20 books including, most recently, Mao’s Invisible Hand: The Political Foundations of Adaptive Governance in China (Harvard, 2011); Anyuan: Mining China’s Revolutionary Tradition (California, 2012); What is the Best Kind of History? (Zhejiang, 2015); Beyond Regimes: China and India Compared (Harvard, 2018); Similar yet Different: Case Studies of China’s Modern Christian Colleges (Zhejiang, 2019); and Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements (Cambridge, forthcoming). Her book, Shanghai on Strike: The Politics of Chinese Labor (Stanford, 1993) received the John King Fairbank Prize of the American Historical Association; her article, “Chinese Conceptions of ‘Rights’: From Mencius to Mao – and Now” (Perspectives on Politics, 2008) received the Heinz I. Eulau Prize of the American Political Science Association.

Yan Xiaojun is currently an associate professor in politics and public administration at the University of Hong Kong and Director of the Research Hub on Institutions of China, HKU. He obtained his Bachelor and Master of Law degrees from Peking University and an A.M. and Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. He is a comparative political scientist with special expertise in the politics of China.  Dr. Yan is the author of three books and co-editor of one edited volume.  His articles have appeared in Journal of Contemporary China, The China Quarterly, The China JournalThird World QuarterlyDemocratizationPolicy & PoliticsProblems of Post-CommunismChina: An International Journal, and The China Review Dr. Yan is a recipient of the 2012 Gordon White Prize by The China Quarterly for his research on new entrepreneurial Party secretaries in rural China. His first book on Hong Kong politics is selected as one of the “Ten Best Chinese Books (non-fiction) Published in 2015” by Asia Weekly.  He is a recipient of HKU’s Outstanding Teaching Award (2013).

James Robson is the James C. Kralik and Yunli Lou Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and the William Fung Director of the Harvard University Asia Center. He is also the Chair of the Regional Studies East Asia M.A. program. Robson received his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford University in 2002, after spending many years researching in China, Taiwan, and Japan. He specializes in the history of medieval Chinese Buddhism and Daoism and is particularly interested in issues of sacred geography, local religious history, and Chan/Zen Buddhism. He has been engaged in a long-term collaborative research project with the École Française d’Extrême-Orient studying local religious statuary from Hunan province. He is the author of Power of Place: The Religious Landscape of the Southern Sacred Peak [Nanyue 南嶽] in Medieval China (Harvard, 2009), which was awarded the Stanislas Julien Prize for 2010 by the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres and the 2010 ToshihideNumata Book Prize in Buddhism. Robson is also the author of "Signs of Power: Talismanic Writings in Chinese Buddhism" (History of Religions 48:2), "Faith in Museums: On the Confluence of Museums and Religious Sites in Asia" (PMLA, 2010), and "A Tang Dynasty Chan Mummy [roushen] and a Modern Case of Furta Sacra? Investigating the Contested Bones of Shitou Xiqian." His current research includes a long-term project on the history of the confluence of Buddhist monasteries and mental hospitals in East Asia. 

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