Christian Sorace is an assistant professor of political science at Colorado College. His work explores the intersection of comparative politics, political theory, and aesthetics. Dr. Sorace’s first book, Shaken Authority: China’s Communist Party and the Sichuan Earthquake (Cornell University Press, 2017) was based on 18 months of fieldwork researching the Communist Party’s post-earthquake reconstruction efforts. He argues that the Communist Party used the post-disaster response as an opportunity to showcase its benevolence and state capacity. Whereas in democracies, elections function as the periodic rituals of legitimacy, the Communist Party relies on crisis mobilization to reaffirm its commitments to the people. Even if the Party cannot fulfill these commitments, it still has to perform them. The title, Shaken Authority, indicates the constant need to protect and perform the symbolic foundations of Party legitimacy. Dr. Sorace is also co-editor of the volume, Afterlives of Chinese Communism: Political Concepts from Mao to Xi (Verso/ANU Press, 2019), which includes essays from over fifty world-renowned scholars in the China field from different disciplines and continents. The authors respond to the legacy of Maoism from numerous perspectives to consider what lessons Chinese Communism can offer today, and whether there is a future for the egalitarian politics that it once promised. Dr. Sorace has published articles on a wide range of topics, including: televised confessions of Communist Party cadres; the concept of ‘Party Spirit’; ghost cities; Ai Weiwei’s use of the state as an artistic readymade; and post-disaster reconstruction. His current research compares urban redevelopment in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, with urbanization processes in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, China. Dr. Sorace is also on the editorial board, and in charge of the arts section, of Made in China Journal, an open access quarterly devoted to presenting scholarly work on China to a public audience.

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