ICS Lecture: Cheng Li, "Contemporary Art and Shanghai’s Middle Class"

Cheng Li
March 8, 2023
6:00PM - 7:30PM
Wexner Center for the Arts, Film/Video Theater

Date Range
Add to Calendar 2023-03-08 18:00:00 2023-03-08 19:30:00 ICS Lecture: Cheng Li, "Contemporary Art and Shanghai’s Middle Class" The Institute for Chinese Studies and Wexner Center for the Arts present: "Contemporary Art and Shanghai's Middle Class"  Cheng Li The Brookings Institution  with commentators: Kuiyi Shen Professor of Asian Art History, Theory, and Criticism, University of Californa San Diego and Christopher Nichols Wayne Woodrow Hayes Chair in National Security Studies and Professor of History, The Ohio State University Abstract: Cheng Li discusses topics from his book with a focus on “what Shanghai’s dynamic art scene reveals about the city’s middle class.” In his latest book, Middle Class Shanghai, the renowned scholar Cheng Li combines eclectic human stories with striking new data analysis to address the possibility that the development of China’s class structure and cosmopolitan culture—exemplified and led by Shanghai—could provide a force for reshaping U.S.-China engagement. Li argues that American policymakers must not lose sight of the expansive dynamism and diversity in present-day China. The caricature of the PRC as a monolithic Communist apparatus set on exporting its ideology and development model is simplistic and misguided. In this talk, Li discusses the empirical research in the realm of avant-garde art to highlight the strong, constructive impact of bilateral exchanges and reflects on the connection between this research and his new observations on the changing landscape of Chinese politics in the context of Sino-U.S. relations. Download the PDF flyer here. Cheng Li is Director and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center. Dr. Li is also a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a Distinguished Fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at University of Toronto, a nonresident fellow at Yale University’s Paul Tsai China Center, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Li’s research areas include the transformation of political leaders, generational change, the Chinese middle class, public health, Chinese think tanks, technological development in China, and U.S.-China relations. He is the author and editor of 17 books, including more recently Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership (2016), The Power of Ideas: The Rising Influence of Thinkers and Think Tanks in China (2017) and Middle Class Shanghai: Reshaping U.S.-China Engagement (2021). He is currently completing a book manuscript with the working title Xi Jinping’s Protégés: Rising Elite Groups in the Chinese Leadership. He is the principal editor of the Thornton Center Chinese Thinkers Series published by the Brookings Institution Press. Dr. Li has advised a wide range of U.S. government, education, research, business and not-for-profit organizations on work in China. Dr. Li has frequently been called upon to share his unique perspective and insights as an expert on China. He recently appeared on BBC, CCTV, CNN, C-SPAN, ABC World News, NPR, and PBS. Li received an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Princeton University. Wexner Center for the Arts, Film/Video Theater East Asian Studies Center easc@osu.edu America/New_York public

The Institute for Chinese Studies and Wexner Center for the Arts present:

"Contemporary Art and Shanghai's Middle Class" 

Cheng Li
The Brookings Institution 

with commentators:

Kuiyi Shen
Professor of Asian Art History, Theory, and Criticism, University of Californa San Diego

and

Christopher Nichols
Wayne Woodrow Hayes Chair in National Security Studies and Professor of History, The Ohio State University


Abstract: Cheng Li discusses topics from his book with a focus on “what Shanghai’s dynamic art scene reveals about the city’s middle class.” In his latest book, Middle Class Shanghai, the renowned scholar Cheng Li combines eclectic human stories with striking new data analysis to address the possibility that the development of China’s class structure and cosmopolitan culture—exemplified and led by Shanghai—could provide a force for reshaping U.S.-China engagement. Li argues that American policymakers must not lose sight of the expansive dynamism and diversity in present-day China. The caricature of the PRC as a monolithic Communist apparatus set on exporting its ideology and development model is simplistic and misguided. In this talk, Li discusses the empirical research in the realm of avant-garde art to highlight the strong, constructive impact of bilateral exchanges and reflects on the connection between this research and his new observations on the changing landscape of Chinese politics in the context of Sino-U.S. relations. Download the PDF flyer here.

Cheng Li is Director and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thornton China Center. Dr. Li is also a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a Distinguished Fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at University of Toronto, a nonresident fellow at Yale University’s Paul Tsai China Center, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Li’s research areas include the transformation of political leaders, generational change, the Chinese middle class, public health, Chinese think tanks, technological development in China, and U.S.-China relations. He is the author and editor of 17 books, including more recently Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership (2016), The Power of Ideas: The Rising Influence of Thinkers and Think Tanks in China (2017) and Middle Class Shanghai: Reshaping U.S.-China Engagement (2021). He is currently completing a book manuscript with the working title Xi Jinping’s Protégés: Rising Elite Groups in the Chinese Leadership. He is the principal editor of the Thornton Center Chinese Thinkers Series published by the Brookings Institution Press. Dr. Li has advised a wide range of U.S. government, education, research, business and not-for-profit organizations on work in China. Dr. Li has frequently been called upon to share his unique perspective and insights as an expert on China. He recently appeared on BBC, CCTV, CNN, C-SPAN, ABC World News, NPR, and PBS. Li received an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Princeton University.

Free and Open to the Public

If you require an accommodation, such as live captioning, to participate in this event, please contact EASC at easc@osu.edu. Requests made at least two weeks in advance of the event will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet requests made after this date. 

This event is supported by a U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant to The Ohio State University East Asian Studies Center.