Thursday, November 9, 2023 | 12:00 PM EST - 12:30 PM EST

Zoom Webinar | Shellen Wu, James Carter

Shellen Wu’s new book, Birth of the Geopolitical Age: Global Frontiers and the Making of Modern China traces the global history of the frontier in the twentieth century, particularly in China. The global history approach offers a new perspective on the continuities and evolution of the construction of Chinese territoriality from the late nineteenth century through to the People’s Republic of China after 1949. She weaves a narrative that moves through time and space, the lives of individuals, and empires’ rise, fall and rebirth, to show how the reshaping of Chinese geopolitical ambitions in the twentieth century, and the global transformation of frontiers, continues to reorder global power dynamics in East Asia and beyond to this day.

In an interview conducted on November 9, 2023, Shellen Wu, in conversation with James Carter, discusses how China, despite political turmoil and war, navigated the twentieth century with its imperial territory basically intact.

Shellen Wu

Shellen Xiao Wu is associate professor and the L.H. Gipson Chair in Transnational History at Lehigh University. Her first book, Empires of Coal: Fueling China’s Entry into the Modern World Order, 1860-1920, argues that changes of the late Qing were part of global trends in the nineteenth century, when the rise of science and industrialization destabilized global systems, caused widespread unrest, and led to the toppling of regimes around the world.

Dr. Wu has received fellowships from the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, the National Humanities Center, the Luce/ACLS Program in China Studies, Fulbright, and the Mellon Foundation. She is chair of the East and Inner Asia Council of the Association of Asian Studies (2022-2024) and president of the Historical Society for Twentieth Century China (2022-2024).

She received her B.A. from Harvard and her Ph.D. from Princeton.  She is a fellow in the National Committee’s Public Intellectuals Program.

James Carter

James Carter holds a Ph.D. in modern Chinese history from Yale University and is currently professor of history and interim provost at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He has written broadly on Chinese-Western relations and nationalism in China, most recently in Champions Day: The End of Old Shanghai. Since 2020, he has written a weekly column on Chinese history for the website The China Project.

Also a fellow in the National Committee’s Public Intellectuals Program, Dr. Carter has focused his career on teaching, researching, and writing about Chinese history and U.S.-China relations for a broad audience. He has worked and traveled extensively in China, for research and also accompanying groups of students and U.S. congressional staffers.