Against the Odds in Asia, 1901-2021: Thoughts on the Activists, Autocrats, Exiles and Empires of Several Eras

Event time: 
Wednesday, April 6, 2022 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Henry R. Luce Hall (LUCE ), 203 See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Against the Odds in Asia, 1901-2021: Thoughts on the Activists, Autocrats, Exiles, and Empires of Several Eras
Lecture by Professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom (UC Irvine)with opening remarks by Professor Arne Westad (Yale International Security Studies).
Professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine,
where he also holds courtesy appointments in the Law School and the Literary Journalism Program. He
has written, co-written, edited, or co-edited a dozen books, the most recent of which are Vigil: Hong Kong on
the Brink (Columbia Global Reports, 2020), which he wrote, and The Oxford History of Modern China (2022),
which he edited. In addition to contributing to academic journals, he often writes for newspapers (including
the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times), magazines (such as the Atlantic), and literary reviews (e.g.,
the TLS and the Los Angeles Review of Books).
This exploratory paper will explore the continuities as well as contrasts between very different periods when people working for change in different parts of East and Southeast Asia paid close attention to one another struggles and sometimes found ways to work together. It will move forward in time from the early twentieth-century activists and exiles discussed in Tim Harper’s recent magnum opus Underground Asia to protests today by people with ties to Thailand, Burma, Hong Kong, and other embattled places that some are referring to as “Milk Tea Alliance” struggles. While being mindful of the dramatic disjuncture between various eras of activism in multiple Asian settings, including not just those two but the 1980s as well, the speaker will suggest that there are echoes of the past worth hearing in trying to make sense of a confusing present that finds a new generation of Davids working against new kinds of Goliaths in movements that face daunting odds.

Professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom, UC Irvine