Understanding China, Understanding the World

Le 8 avril 2021, Emilie Frenkiel (UPEC, LIPHA) a organisé, en partenariat avec le Centre de Paris de l’Université de Chicago, une journée d’étude intitulée “Understanding China, understanding the world”.


China scholars have long worked in a closed circuit and China studies have rarely been able to have a disciplinary impact beyond their field. After 1978’s Open and reform policy, Chinese scholars have intensely striven to catch up with Western concepts and theories and have, along with foreign scholars, tried to apply them to Chinese contexts. Since the 2010s and China’s greater rise and confidence, academia has also engaged in indigenization (bentuhua), and some researchers have tried to build and use local concepts presumably better suited to China’s conditions. These endeavors have however mostly failed to China being a “limit case”, some analyses however manage to enlighten cases beyond China’s borders. As David Ownby said, Chinese intellectuals “speak to the world” and it is high time Chinese studies, and more specifically political science and sociology in our case, speak to the academic community at large.

This workshop open to the public organized by the École Internationale d’Études Politiques (EEP) of the Université Paris Est Créteil (UPEC) and the University of Chicago Center in Paris specifically focuses on the relevance of contemporary social and political studies of contemporary China for the general fields of political science, sociology, communication studies and so on.

Each paper will present an analysis of Chinese society, local and national politics as well as national discourse. The originality of our workshop is that these papers will be discussed by researchers with no expertise on contemporary China and the emphasis will be for the paper givers to explain the relevance of their empirical research findings, the concepts used and coined and methodology beyond China studies. This will precisely be the focus of discussions.