Contemporary China appears both deceptively familiar and inexplicably different. China is a cauldron of forms of entrepreneurship, social organization, ways of life and governance that are at once new and unique, recognizably Chinese and generically modern. In analyzing and interpreting these developments, Frank N. Pieke adopts a China-centric perspective to move beyond western preoccupations, desires, or fears. Each chapter starts with a key question about China, showing that such questions and assumptions are often based on a misunderstanding or misconstruction of what China is today. Pieke explores twenty-first-century China as a unique kind of neo-socialist society, combining features of state socialism, neoliberal governance, capitalism and rapid globalization. Understanding this society not only helps us to know China better, but takes us beyond the old dichotomies of West versus East, developed versus developing, tradition versus modernity, democracy versus dictatorship, and capitalism versus socialism.
by Zachary Lockman
Publication Date: 2016-03-30
Field Notes reconstructs the origins and trajectory of area studies in the United States, focusing on Middle East studies from the 1920s to the 1980s. Drawing on extensive archival research, Zachary Lockman shows how the Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford foundations played key roles in conceiving, funding, and launching postwar area studies, expecting them to yield a new kind of interdisciplinary knowledge that would advance the social sciences while benefiting government agencies and the American people. Lockman argues, however, that these new academic fields were not simply a product of the Cold War or an instrument of the American national security state, but had roots in shifts in the humanities and the social sciences over the interwar years, as well as in World War II sites and practices. This book explores the decision-making processes and visions of knowledge production at the foundations, the Social Science Research Council, and others charged with guiding the intellectual and institutional development of Middle East studies. Ultimately, Field Notes uncovers how area studies as an academic field was actually built--a process replete with contention, anxiety, dead ends, and consequences both unanticipated and unintended.