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Going West and Going Out: Discourse, migrants and models in Chinese development

Going West and Going Out: Discourse, migrants and models in Chinese development
100 St. George Street, Room SS5017
Time: Mar 15th, 3:00 pm End: Mar 15th, 5:00 pm
Interest Categories: Geography & Planning (FAS), East Asian Studies (FAS), Anthropology (UTSC), Anthropology (UTM), Anthropology (FAS), 2000-
Talk by Emily T. Yeh

The Department of Anthropology presents

Going West and Going Out: Discourse, migrants and models in Chinese development

In 1999, China announced the launching of the Open up the West campaign, sometimes called "Going West," to help western China finally catch up to the much wealthier eastern, coastal areas after several decades of lagging behind. The same year, China also announced a "Going Out" strategy, to encourage Chinese investment abroad. The fifteen years since then have witnessed dramatic Chinese government investment in various development activities in western regions of China, as well as around the world. Though rarely considered together, there are significant parallels in development discourse, the centrality of physical infrastructure, the characteristics of Chinese labor migration and the nature of migrant-local relations, and the application of "models from elsewhere" in Going West and Going Out. In this talk, I draw on field research in Tibet and a review of the secondary literature on "China abroad" to examine these parallels, which I argue can help shed light on Chinese development discourse and practice, as China becomes increasingly important in the field of development once dominated by Western countries. Finally, I briefly consider direct connections and convergences between the two strategies in China's neighboring countries of Asia and in the One Belt One Road initiative, and some reflections more broadly on China's development and investment abroad in Asia.

Emily T. Yeh is a professor and department chair of Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder. She conducts research on development and nature-society relations in Tibetan parts of the PRC, including projects on conflicts over access to natural resources, the relationship between ideologies of nature and nation, the political ecology of pastoral environment and development policies, and emerging environmental subjectivities. Her book Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development (Cornell University Press 2013), which explores the intersection of political economy and cultural politics of development as a project of state territorialization, was awarded the E. Gene Smith Book Prize on Inner Asia in 2015. She is also co-editor with Chris Coggins of Mapping Shangrila: Contested Landscapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands, and with Kevin O'Brien and Ye Jingzhong of Rural Politics in Contemporary China.

This event is free and open to all. Registration is required. For further information, please contact the Department of Anthropology at (416) 978-4805.

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