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Chen Jian

"His expertise in Chinese foreign affairs ties in clearly with IDEAS’ preoccupation with the past, present and future of Sino-American relations, one of the key relationships shaping today's world.”
Prof Arne Westad

An expert on American-Chinese relations and leading historian of China, Chen Jian’s appointment as Philippe Roman Chair reflected IDEAS joint interest in foreign policy and history.

Professor Chen’s lectures highlighted the ongoing impact of 1949, the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and the 1970s, the ‘Great Transformation’ of reform, on contemporary US-China relations and the myths of China’s rise.

He also took part in IDEAS roundtables, assessing the impact of the 2008 Olympics on China and the global financial crisis on rising Asian powers.


The China Challenge as Myth and Reality

Few countries have experienced changes as dramatic as China in the past 25 years, from ‘revolutionary state’ to ‘status quo power’.

Professor Chen discusses the origins, processes and implications of China's rise from the perspective of a historian of China's international relations, focusing on deconstructing some common myths.  


The Great Transformation: how China changed in the ‘long 1970s’

China's adoption of a new path toward modernity, one that champions ‘reform and opening to the outside world’, had profound significance not only for China itself but also for the rest of the world. What were the origins of this ‘Great Transformation’? 

Professor Chen offers a historian's overview of China's 1970s transformation and the beginning of global systemic change that this transformation helped create.

Watch / Listen:

What is the significance of 1949? 

2009 marked the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, an opportunity to consider and reconsider the Communist revolution in Chinese and world history.

In this lecture Professor Chen offered a critical review of the origins, processes and consequences of the Chinese revolution, arguing that while the revolution's many dark aspects need to be exposed, as a whole it has transformed China and the world for the better.  


China After the Olympics

Whether we think sport and politics should or should not be mixed, it is clear that in the case of the Beijing Olympics the two have never been more closely intertwined. 

Chian Jian is joined by Guardian Columnist Martin Jacques and Director of the Asia Research Centre Athar Hussain to discuss how the impact of the Olympics on China and ask if it changed China’s world image or affected future Western relations. 


Rising Asia in the World Crisis

The global financial crisis presents both opportunities and challenges to Asia. The initiatives and responses by Asian countries, China and India in particular, have the potential to define the world's path of development now and in the future. 

To discuss these issues Chen Jian is joined by Danny Quah (Director of the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre) and Athar Hussain (Director of the Asia Research Centre).


Chen-JianAbout Chen Jian

Professor Chen is the Michael J Zak Chair of the History of US-China Relations at Cornell University, where he serves as Director of the China and Asian-Pacific Studies Program and is a distinguished research scholar, writer and teacher.

Chen received his M.A. from Fudan University and East China Normal University in Shanghai and his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University.

He is a member of the editorial board for The China Review and The Chinese Historical Review, Associate Editor of The Journal of American-East Asian Relations, author of Mao's China and the Cold War and China's Road to the Korean War: The Making Of The Sino-American Confrontation, and an Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Achievement in News and Documentary Research for Declassified: Nixon in China.

Find out more on Professor Chen's Cornell University page.

China Foresight