The India China Institute (ICI) at The New School, the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC), American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS), and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) are excited to announce an international conference on Mountains and Sacred Landscapes at The New School in New York City from Thursday April 20th to Sunday April 23rd, 2017. The conference will include the latest research on the intersections or religion, nature and culture and will also feature special presentation from the India China Institute’s three-year research project on Sacred Landscapes and Sustainable Futures in the Himalaya (Sacred Himalaya Initiative).
Diverse mountain communities from the Himalaya to the Andes to the Appalachians face growing pressures linked to social and ecological changes. Melting glaciers, shifting agricultural patterns, conflicts over mining and resource extraction, and risks to livelihoods, the consequences of increasingly erratic global climate change, pose unknown future challenges to many sacred landscapes, including mountain communities and ecosystems and those beings, human and nonhuman alike, who rely on these habitats. Scholars have even suggested we have entered a fundamentally new geologic epoch called the Anthropocene.
The conference seeks to critically explore how the idea of sacred landscapes is entangled with these communities, with a particular interest in topics related to mountain landscapes. Some of the issues we hope to explore include: major challenges and opportunities facing communities in the 21st century; religious conceptualizations of place and landscape; relationships between mountain spiritualities and peoples adapting to climate change; traditional ecological knowledge held by communities that can help address issues of social and ecological justice; the future of mountain and forest peoples; and the fate of more than human worlds inhabiting these diverse landscapes. What kinds of meanings shape and are shaped by the effects of climate change, mass extinction, human population growth and ecological degradation of mountains, forests, rivers and other sacred landscapes? How do ritual activities linked to sacred landscapes respond to environmental challenges, or not? How do mountains—as highly biodiverse ecosystems, as critical sources of water, energy, and materials, as repositories of tradition, and as sacred beings—remain vital components in ongoing processes of religious change? How do understandings of the sacred manifest within and across different landscapes, such as deserts, rivers or forests?
More details and registration are available on the conference website.
LEARNING FROM SHENZEN: CHINA’S POST-MAO EXPERIMENT FROM SPECIAL ZONE TO MODEL CITY
Please join us on Wednesday evening, April 26th, for a reception celebrating the publication of Learning from Shenzhen: China’s Post-Mao Experiment from Special Zone to Model City, edited by Mary Ann O’Donnell, Winnie Wong, & Jonathan Bach (University of Chicago Press, 2017).
This multidisciplinary volume presents an account of China’s contemporary transformation via one of its most important yet overlooked cities: Shenzhen, located just north of Hong Kong. From an experimental site as the first of China’s special economic zones, Shenzhen is now a dominant city at the crossroads of the global economy, a UNESCO City of Design, and the hub of China’s emerging technology industries. A city of contradictions, it embodies the spatial and temporal intricacies of the contemporary urban experience. The book explores especially how urban villages and informal institutions enabled social transformation. Through cases of labor, architecture, gender, public health, politics, education, and more, this urban case study serves to explore critical problems for modern-day China and beyond.
Remarks by co-editor and author, Jonathan Bach, chair of the Global Studies Program (New School), Mark Frazier, Professor of Politics (New School), and special guest Na Fu, Luce Visiting Scholar in Urban Studies at Trinity College and head of the research department at the Shenzhen Center for Design.
Refreshments will be served and books will be available for purchase at a discount.
Sponsored by the interdisciplinary programs in Global Studies, Urban Studies, and Environmental Studies, the India China Institute, the department of Anthropology, and the Graduate Program in International Affairs.
China: End of the Reform Era
A Public Talk by Professor Carl Minzner
Monday, May 1st, 2017
Orozco Room (712), 66 West 12th St, New York
Join ICI for an exciting talk by University of Fordham law professor Carl Minzner as he discusses the core factors that have characterized China’s ending reform era. Professor Minzner’s recent publications include “China After the Reform Era” and “The Rise and Fall of Chinese Legal Education”.
About the Talk:
China’s reform era is ending. Core factors that characterized it – political stability, ideological openness, and rapid economic growth – are unraveling. Since the early 1990s, Beijing’s leaders have set their face against fundamental political reform of China’s one-Party system. On the surface, this has been a success. The past three decades have seen political turmoil topple former Communist East bloc regimes, internal unrest overtake Mideast nations, and populist movements rise to challenge established Western democracies. China, in contrast, has appeared a relative haven of stability and growth. But a closer look at China’s reform era reveals a different truth. Over the past three decades a frozen political system has fueled both the rise of entrenched interests within the Communist Party itself, and the systematic underdevelopment of institutions of governance among state and society at large. Economic cleavages have widened, social unrest worsened, and ideological polarization deepened. Now, to address these looming problems, China’s leaders are progressively cannibalizing institutional norms and practices that have formed the bedrock of the regime’s stability in the reform era. Uncertainty hangs in the air as a new future slouches towards Beijing to be born.
About the Speaker:
Carl Minzner is an expert in Chinese law and governance. He has written extensively on these topics in both academic journals and the popular press, including op-eds appearing in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Christian Science Monitor. Prior to joining Fordham, he was an Associate Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis. In addition, he has served as Senior Counsel for the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, International Affairs Fellow for the Council on Foreign Relations, and Yale-China Legal Education Fellow at the Xibei Institute of Politics and Law in Xi’an, China. He has also worked as an Associate at McCutchen & Doyle (Palo Alto, CA) and as a Law Clerk for Hon. Raymond Clevenger of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
The Global Democracy Recession: Can it be Reversed?
A TALK WITH CARL GERSHMAN
Wed, May 3, 2017 – 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Johnson/Kaplan Lecture Hall (#404), 66 West 12th St, NY
Three decades after the historic “third wave” of democratization, global democracy is in retreat and authoritarianism has made alarming gains. Can the momentum of global democratization be revived?
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Carl Gershman is the president of the Washington DC-based National Endowment for Democracy, an institution with the mission to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through non-governmental efforts. The World Movement for Democracy, which was founded under his leadership in India in 1999, held its fifth global assembly in Kyiv in 2008. Prior to assuming the position with the Endowment, Mr. Gershman was Senior Counselor to the United States Representative to the United Nation. Mr. Gershman has lectured extensively and written articles and reviews on foreign policy issues for leading international publications, is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His work in advancing democracy has been recognized worldwide and on behalf of NED, he has accepted awards from the governments of Poland, Romania, Korea, Lithuania and from numerous NGOs internationally. A frequent visitor to Ukraine, he most recently traveled there in April 2015. Born in New York City in 1943, he received his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1965 and M.Ed. from Harvard University in 1968.
Opening and Welcome:
David Van Zandt
President of The New School
Jeffrey C. Goldfarb
Michael E. Gellert Professor
Department of Sociology, New School for Social Research
Indian Council of Social Science Research Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Politics, New School for Social Research
India China: Rethinking Borders and Security
Book launch with authors:
L.H.M. Ling, Adriana Abdenur, Payal Banerjee, Nimmi Kurian, Mahendra P. Lama, Li Bo
Monday, May 22, 4:00-6:oo pm
Orozco Room (712), 66 West 12th St
Mary Watson, Executive Dean, NSPE
Tansen Sen, Professor, CUNY
Ashok Gurung, Senior Director, ICI
About the Book
Challenging the Westphalian view of international relations, which focuses on the sovereignty of states and the inevitable potential for conflict, the authors from the Borderlands Study Group reconceive borders as capillaries enabling the flow of material, cultural, and social benefits through local communities, nation-states, and entire regions. By emphasizing local agency and regional interdependencies, this metaphor reconfigures current narratives about the China India border and opens a new perspective on the long history of the Silk Roads, the modern BCIM Initiative, and dam construction along the Nu River in China and the Teesta River in India.
Together, the authors show that positive interaction among people on both sides of a border generates larger, cross-border communities, which can pressure for cooperation and development. India China offers the hope that people divided by arbitrary geo-political boundaries can circumvent race, gender, class, religion, and other social barriers, to form more inclusive institutions and forms of governance.
Ling and her collaborators have ambitions that are not merely explanatory but also transformative: they seek not merely to make sense of an existing conflict, but by diagnosing it in terms of blocked flows and interrupted balances, they seek to envision ways to resolve (or, better, to dis-solve) it. If the more typical IR explanatory social-scientific question would be ‘why is this India-China conflict as virulent as it is?,’ their question is instead ‘what does the present state of the conflict reveal about how to change things?’ The transformative question encompasses the explanatory question and presses it onto novel terrain; call the results ‘explanation-plus.’
—Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Editor, Configurations Series, University of Michigan Press and Professor, School of International Service, American University
About the Authors
L. H. M. Ling is Professor of International Affairs at The New School in New York, USA.
Nimmi Kurian is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in New Delhi, India, and India Representative, India China Institute, The New School, New York.
Mahendra P. Lama is a Professor in the School of International Studies at Jawarhalal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, India.
Li Bo is a part-time consultant for environmental grant-making in China and chief editor of the Green Cover Book: Annual Review of China’s Environment, a Chinese publication. At the same time, he runs a small organic farm by Lake Huron in Canada.
Reflections on the Belt and Road Forum
June 20, 2017 | 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Theresa Lang Center (55 W. 13th St, 2nd floor, The New School) * Updated Event Venue
Featured Speakers: Liang Huijiang, Wang Wen, Zha Daojiong, and Zhai Kun
About the Talk:
Last month China held a major international forum on its Belt and Road Initiative, the first of its kind since Beijing announced the project in 2013. Drawing official delegations, scholars, entrepreneurs, as well as representatives from financial institutions and media organizations from 130 nations, the forum was an important step in China’s drive to develop infrastructure and connectivity along the “Belt and Road Corridors” from China to Africa, Europe, South and Southeast Asia. Though many important details about the initiative remain unclear, foreign businesses are already vying for opportunities to join the project, and their excitement was primed by President’s Xi Jinping’s promise at the Forum to raise tens of billions of dollars in new financing. The event generated some concern about whether actual profits and benefits will match expectations. From the perspectives both of recipient countries and investors, the Belt and Road Initiative represents huge potential and significant risk. Amid the enthusiasm and apprehension surrounding the project, a robust dialogue and accurate information are critical. In support of this, the National Committee and the India China Institute of The New School are pleased to welcome a delegation of financial and economic scholars led by the director general of the International Finance Department of the China Development Bank, Mr. Liang Huijiang, to discuss the May 2017 Belt and Road Forum on June 20, 2017.
About the Speakers:
Mr. Liang Huijiang is director general of the International Finance Department of the China Development Bank (CDB). He oversees strategy and policy making of the bank’s international business operations as well as cooperation with national and multilateral development banks. He also manages an overseas loan portfolio of over USD 300 billion, and is instrumental in expanding the bank’s global network.
From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Liang was deputy director general of the bank’s Treasury Department, playing a key role in building a professional team for the bank’s liquidity and investment portfolios as it reached several milestones in overseas bond offerings and underwritings. Between 1998 and 2003 Mr. Liang was special assistant to Mr. Chen Yuan, then president of the CDB. In that capacity, he was in charge of developing strategies as the CDB transformed itself from a semi-government agency into a market-oriented bank. Before joining CDB, Mr. Liang worked in the International Department of the People’s Bank of China, where he was involved in annual consultations between China and the IMF and reform of China’s exchange rate regime.
Mr. Liang holds a master’s degree in finance from the London Business School (2004), a master’s in economics from the PBC School of Finance, Tsinghua University (1996), and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Hangzhou University (1993).
Dr. Wang Wen is a professor and executive dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. He also serves as a consultant fellow at the Counselors’ Office of the State Council of China, secretary general of the Green Finance Association of China, and standing director of World Socialism Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. As a leading think tank professional since 2013, Dr. Wang was named a “2014 Top Ten Figures of Chinese Think Tanks,” and a “2015 China Reform and Development Pioneer.”
Dr. Wang worked as chief op-ed editor and editorial writer at Global Times before 2012, and won a China News Awards in 2011. He has written and edited over 20 books including Think as a Tank; Anxiety of the U.S.; Visions of the Great Powers; 2016: G20 and China; Theories of World Governance: A Study in the History of Ideas; and The G20 and Global Governance.
Dr. Zha Daojiong is a professor of international political economy at the School of International Studies, Peking University, where he holds concurrent appointments in the University’s Institute of South-South Cooperation and International Development and Institute of Ocean Research. He specializes in studying non-traditional security issues in China’s foreign relations, including energy, food, public health, and transboundary water management. His recent research interests have expanded to political risk management for Chinese investments overseas.
Professor Zha has served as Arthur Ross Fellow at the Center on US-China Relations of the Asia Society in New York, as the inaugural Rio Tinto China Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, and as senior research fellow at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is also a member of the China chapter of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific, and a senior advisor to the Chinese Association for International Understanding. He is an active participant in the National Committee’s longstanding track II economic dialogue.
Professor Zha has written and edited seven academic books, in addition to dozens of journal articles. He taught in Japan for six years and holds a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the East-West Center.
Dr. Zhai Kun is a professor at the School of International Studies, Peking University, and director of the Center for Global Interconnectivity Studies, Peking University.
Dr. Zhai was formerly director of the Institute of World Political Studies (2011-2014) and director of South and Southeast Asian and Oceania Studies (2007-2011) at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR). He is a council member of China People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, a China expert and eminent person of the ASEAN Regional Forum, and deputy president of the China Association of Southeast Asian Studies. Dr. Zhai has published extensively on China’s diplomacy and strategic thinking. He frequently writes for the People’s Daily, China Daily, World Knowledge, and Oriental Morning Post.
Dr. Zhai received his Ph.D. in international relations from CICIR, and his M.A. in international relations and B.A. in international journalism from the University of International Relations.
This event is organized by the National Committee on U.S. – China Relations, and co-sponsored by the India China Institute.