China and the Human

Social Text 109/110 (Winter 2011/Spring 2012)

The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York City, Rooms C201/C202

Thursday, 19 April 2012, 12-6pm

China is everywhere in the news for its astounding economic development and its equally astonishing human rights abuses. Beginning with this curiously inverse relationship between economic success and political rights and freedom, the relationship of China and the human begs to be explored. Bringing together editors and contributors to Social Text‘s newly published double issue on “China and the Human” this interdisciplinary symposium seeks to question the self-evident nature of both “China” and “human” by examining the long career of the human in Chinese culture and thought, reaching back to ancient traditions and exploring the radical transformations under Maoism and in the current socialist-capitalist era. Join us for a series of panel discussions and conversations.

12:00-12:30pm Opening Remarks

Teemu Ruskola (Emory Law)

Anna McCarthy (Social Text)


12:30-2:15pm Panel 1

Chair Shuang Shen (Comparative Literature, Penn State University)

Ackbar Abbas (Comparative Literature, University of California at Irvine), “China and the Human: A Visual Dossier”

Michael Dutton (Politics, Goldsmiths), “Fragments of the Political, or How We Dispose of Wonder”

Camille Robcis (History, Cornell), “‘China in Our Heads’: Althusser, Maoism, and Structuralism”

Mei Zhan (Anthropology, University of California at Irvine), “Worlding Oneness: Daoism, Heidegger, and Possibilities for Treating the Human”

Commentators Peter Hitchcock (English, Graduate Center, CUNY)


2:45-4:30pm Panel 2

Chair                David Eng (English, University of Pennsylvania)

Eric Hayot (Comparative Literature, Penn State University), “Cosmologies, Globalization, and Their Humans”

Petrus Liu (Comparative Literature, Cornell), “Queer Human Rights in and against China: Marxism and the Figuration of the Human”

Shu-mei Shih (Comparative Literature, University of California at Los Angeles), “Is the Post- in Postsocialism the Post- in Posthumanism?”

Commentators Brent Edwards (English, Columbia)


5:00-6:00 Roundtable Discussion

Tani Barlow (History, Rice)

David Harvey (Anthropology and Geography, Graduate Center, CUNY)

Haun Saussy (Comparative Literature, Chicago)


Sponsored by the Halle Institute, Emory University; the Mellon Committee on the Study of Globalization and Social Change and the Center for Place, Culture and Politics, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; the Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University; the Department of Comparative Literature, Penn State University, and Social Text..

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