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  • Speaker | 11 December, 2019

    The Catholic Church and the Chinese State: Control, Contention and Negotiation

    This talk will examine the history of the interaction between the Catholic Church and the Chinese State. Most scholarship on the history of the Church in China has focused on the early modern missions of Jesuit luminaries like Matteo Ricci and the resulting intellectual exchange between the Jesuits and Chinese scholars. Less research has been done on the history of Catholicism in modern China, and those studies that do exist tend to fall into a straightforward narrative of Catholicism benefiting from imperialism in the nineteenth century, gaining toleration and encouragement in the Republican era, and then being suppressed in the Communist era. But the reality was far more complex. In many ways, there were continuities in the ambitions of the Chinese state to control Catholicism from the late Qing into the People’s Republic era. At the same time, local realities on the ground typically forced a conciliatory approach. Thus, the era of High Maoism (1958-76) when the Church was suppressed outright can be seen as an exception to the rule of Chinese statecraft towards the Catholic Church. In tracing the history of the Church in modern China, this talk will consider Catholicism alongside other religious communities, including current efforts by the government to “Sinicize” Islam and Christianity.
    ABOUT THE SPEAKER
    Steven Pieragastini is a Lecturer in Asian Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He received his PhD in History from Brandeis University in February 2017, and is writing a book on the history of the Catholic Church in modern China. He has also published on the history of universities in Shanghai and the intersection of imperial projects in China’s borderland regions.

    Speaker | 22 November, 2019

    The Transformation of Rural China – Beyond the Beijing-Shanghai Beltway

    Unprecedented infrastructure development. Poverty elimination. Land-use reform. Tourism development. Matthew Chitwood has lived in a small village in rural Yunnan for the last two years learning how infrastructure development is transforming its people, land, economy, and governance. His talk will focus on China’s poverty elimination campaign and the rural revitalization strategy as well as anecdotes illustrating rural perspectives and challenges around its development, followed by Q&A.

    ABOUT THE SPEAKER
    Matthew Chitwood is concluding a two-year fellowship in Yunnan province exploring its transformation in light of economic and infrastructure development in the region. For almost a decade he has worked in Greater China: Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming, and Taipei. His work experience spans the business, education, and non-profit sectors, and includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship Program and CET Study Abroad. He holds a dual M.A. in China Studies and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He also completed the graduate certificate program at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center and studied international business and Spanish at Northwest Nazarene University.