Doing Global Urban Comparisons: Making a Case for China

  • Xuefei Ren, Sociology, Michigan State University
    Coach House, Green College, UBC and livestreamed

    Wednesday, November 1, 5-6:30pm with reception to follow
    in the series
    China Logics
  • The field of global urban studies has seen a comparative turn in the last decade. But comparison, as a method, has yet to influence urban China studies. Most urban China research still confines itself to single-case methods involving only China. The lack of a comparative sensibility among China scholars can be traced in part to claims of China exceptionalism. But in the wake of strained relations between the US and China that have made research collaboration with China more difficult and less fundable, Xuefei Ren argues that the time is ripe to draw upon comparative research as a powerful heuristic device to better understand urban conditions in China and elsewhere. In this talk, she will discuss several of her comparative projects involving China, on urban governance (China and India) and municipal responses to the Covid-19 pandemic (Shanghai, Chicago, Toronto and Johannesburg).

    Xuefei Ren is a Professor of Sociology and Global Urban Studies at Michigan State University. Her most recent book, Governing the Urban in China and India: Land Grabs, Slum Clearance, and the War on Air Pollution, was published by Princeton University Press and won the Robert Park Best Book Award in Urban Sociology from the American Sociological Association. She is a public intellectual fellow with the National Committee on US-China Relations, and a fellow of CIFAR (Canadian Institute for Advanced Research)’s Humanity’s Urban Future program. The program started in 2023 and examines health, climate and migration policies in six metropolitan regions, including Toronto, Naples, Kinshasa, Kolkata, Shanghai and Mexico City. She lives in Hyde Park, Chicago.

    This event has been co-sponsored by the SFU Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Urban Studies Program, David Lam Centre, and Department of Sociology and Anthropology. It has been co-organized with the UBC Centre for Chinese Research.

    This interdisciplinary series examines the future of global sustainability, economy and security through the many images and understandings of China, a compelling and sometimes puzzling place. If understanding China constitutes a rational, emotional or symbolic anchor from which one’s ideas, actions and strategies are derived, then there is a need to capitalize on the rich amount of evidence that allows us to examine “China Logics” across time, space and interactions.

    Series Conveners: Timothy Cheek, History; Qiang Fu, Sociology; Julia Harten, Community and Regional Planning; Juliet Lu, Forest Resources Management | Public Policy and Global Affairs; Renren Yang, Asian Studies

  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.

November 1st, 2023 from  5:00 PM to  6:30 PM
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