International Workshop “Fourty years of Reforms in China’s long XXth century of modernization. Exploring local and foreign sources of inspiration for economic and social institutions, manufacturing and technology.”

22–23rd Nov 2018
Leuven, Belgium
Deadline: 30th Jun 2018

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculty of Arts – OE East Asian and Arabic Studies, Sinology Research Unit

Academic literature has devoted great attention to China’s late-development, particularly highlighting the role of investments and technology transfer from more advanced economies, the role of the State and the relationship between private and public as founding elements to the so-called “Capitalism with Chinese characteristics”. Still, there is a dearth of literature on the early years of the Reform and Opening up. Similarly, early interactions between capitalist and Socialist institutions lack in-depth comparative analysis. Overall, post-1978 reforms need to be adequately evaluated across the backdrop of the longer-term modernization effort in which the country and the people of China have been participating in the modern era.
This workshop will offer an opportunity to start a historical reflection on how economic, social and cultural characters concurred in the successful development of China’s Reforms and Opening up.
Firstly by examining the interplay between local and foreign cultural elements. How did China’s local cultural elements influence 1978 epic transformation? On the other hand, what role did other cultures and more advanced economies play in China’s success story?
Secondly by placing the post-1978 modernization experience in a longer-term perspective. Two historical legacies need to be taken into account: 1. Late Imperial and Republican era, when modern institutions, manufacturing, industry and technology were introduced from more advanced countries; 2. The era of the Socialist planned economy, when economic, technical, cultural and social developments replaced or integrated existing institutions.
In which ways did cultural exchanges and earlier development influence fast industrialization and economic growth after 1978? Can we highlight inspirations / comparative cases / models?
The present event aims at bringing together scholars from China, Europe and the world from various disciplinary approaches (economic and business history; history of technology; cultural history; social history) to gather in a workshop-style conference, share and discuss on the base of their research.
The organizers welcome contributions in particular on (but not limited to) the following themes:
Case histories in state and/or private economy
Sector and cross-sector analyses
Comparative analyses of modernization in China and other countries
Circulation of ideas (technology; business practices; economic and social institutions, etc.)
Networks based on ethnicity and/or place of origin
Networks based on religion and/or culture and/or politics
Please submit your abstract (between 200 and 400 words) by 30th June 2018.
Papers submission by selected participants 15th October 2018.
Participants affiliated to non-Chinese institutions are kindly invited to submit proposals to Prof Valeria Zanier, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven – Chinese Studies:
Participants affiliated to Chinese institutions are kindly invited to submit proposals to Prof Zhang Xiuli (张秀莉), Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences – Institute of History:

Download this announcement as .doc here: Leuven Workshop text – EACS