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CCCI Lecture Series

Our Cornell Contemporary China Initative Lecture Series, launched in the spring 2015, is the cornerstone  of the CCCI. It features interdisciplinary talks by scholars and researchers on contemporary issues in China. The lectures are free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome to join us!

China's Environmental Transformations is the theme of CCCI for Spring 2020. The corresponding course, Environmental Sociology, is taught by Professor John Zinda.  See below for a list of speakers, dates and topics.

The Spring 2020 Cornell Contemporary China Initiative Lecture Series brings us five leading scholars to discuss different facets of China’s Environmental Transformations. Cancer villages, “airpocalypse,” extinctions, massive industrialization of agriculture. Equally massive solar and wind roll-out, reforestation, new national parks, hard penalties for pollution. China is the site of some of the world’s most vexing environmental problems and the source of energetic efforts to deal with them. Chinese people bear the body burdens of pollution, blow the whistle on violations of environmental rules, plant trees and gather rubbish, and think and rethink how humans relate to the rest of the world. Speakers investigate the many ways China’s environments are changing: how governments address public concerns about pollution; religion, livelihoods, and environmental action in ethnic minority areas, and civil society action in the wake of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Each lecture is recorded and made accessible to the entire Cornell community and public. The full-length lecture videos are archived on this website under the corresponding semester. 

To browse our playlist for lectures videos and highlights, please visit our Vimeo channel:, part of the East Asia Program video resources at

To browse videos on our Cornell Cast playlist (CCCI Contemporary China Lectures):


Spring 2020  4:30-6:00 pm Goldwin Smith Hall Room G64 Kaufman Auditorium

February 10     Michael Hathaway | Anthropology | Simon Fraser University | Transforming More-than-human Economies in Southwest China

February 18      Mindi Schneider | Sociology | Wageningen University | The Pork Fix: African Swine Fever and the Opportunity of Crisis in China's Pork Industry

March 9           Anna Ahlers | China Studies | Max Plank Institute for the History of Science | Governing the Airpocalypse - Insights from China's 'War on Smog'

March 16         Emily Yeh | Geography | University of Colorado | Shielding the Mountains: Environmentalism and Articulations of Nature in Tibet

April 20           Bin Xu | Sociology | Emory University | The Politics of Compassion: The Sichuan Earthquake and Civic Engagement in China


Fall 2019

September 9 TR Kidder (Washington University in St. Louis)

September 30 Arriane Gaetanao (Auburn University)

October 7 Julia Chuang (Morrissey College at Boston University)

November 14 Tom McDonald (Hong Kong University)

Spring 2019

February 11 Mark W. Frazier (The New School)

February 18 Eli Friedman (Cornell University)

March 4 Allen Carlson (Cornell University)

March 11 Darren Byler Anthropology (University of Washington)

March 18 Ken Liu Award-winning science-fiction author and translator

April 15 Taisu Zhang (Yale University)

April 22 Charlotte Brooks History (Baruch College)

April 29 Guldana Salimjan Ph.D. (University of British Columbia)



Fall 2018

SEPT. 24  Kam Wing Chan (University of Washington)

OCT. 1: Karen Eggelston (Director, Stanford University Asia Health Policy Program)

OCT. 15: David Wang (Harvard University)

OCT. 22: Jeff Wasserstrom (University of California, Irvine)

OCT. 29: Erin Huang (Princeton University)

NOV. 5: Jeremy Wallace (Cornell University)

NOV. 12: DAVID PALMER (Hong Kong University)

Spring 2018

February 12: John Osburg (University of Rochester)

February 26: Aynne Kokas (University of Virginia)

March 5: Yangyang Cheng (Cornell University)

March 19: Wu Man and the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band

March 26: Jane Hayward (London School of Economics and Political Science)

April 9: Andrew Erickson (U.S. Naval War College)

April 16: Nellie Chu (Visiting Scholar, Cornell University)

April 23: Adam Yuet Chau (University of Cambridge)

Fall 2017

SEPTEMBER 11: GUOLONG LAI (Associate Professor of Chinese Art and Archaeology, University of Florida)

SEPTEMBER 18: THOMAS DUBOIS (Historian of Chinese Religion and Society, Australian National University)

SEPTEMBER 25: YUNXIANG YAN (Professor of Social Anthropology, UCLA)

OCTOBER 2: JIA-CHING CHEN Assistant Professor of Global Studies, UC Santa Barbara)

OCTOBER 16: WANSANA WONGSURAWAT (Assistant Professor of History, Chulalongkorn University)

OCTOBER 23: HOWARD FRENCH (Associate Professor of Journalism, Columbia Journalism School)

NOVEMBER 6: LI ZHANG (Professor of Anthropology, UC Davis)

NOVEMBER 13: KEVIN CARRICO (Lecturer of Chinese Studies, Macquarie University)

SPRING 2017 Lecture Series

FEBRUARY 13: Mary Lovely (Syracuse University)

FEBRUARY 27: Yiyun Li (UC Davis)

MARCH 6: Tami Blumenfield (Furman University)

MARCH 13: Roselyn Hsueh (Temple University)

MARCH 20: Jessica Chen Weiss (Cornell University)

MARCH 27: Mary Ann O'Donnell (Shenzhen-based artist & enthnographer)

APRIL 10: Wendy Su (UC Riverside)

APRIL 17: Shu-mei Shih (UCLA)

FALL 2016 Lecture Series

SEPTEMBER 19: Matthew Erie (University of Oxford)

SEPTEMBER 26: Darrin Magee (Hobart & William Smith Colleges)

OCTOBER 3: Angela Zito (New York University)

OCTOBER 17: Robert Weller (Boston University)

OCTOBER 24: Liu Zhi (Peking University)

OCTOBER 31: Ruixue Jia (UCSD)

NOVEMBER 7: Wenguang Wu & The Memory Project filmmakers (Caochangdi Workstation in Beijing)

NOVEMBER 14: Magnus Fiskesjö (Cornell University)

NOVEMBER 21:Shanjun Li (Cornell University)

SPRING 2016 Lecture Series

FEBRUARY 8: Yongheng Deng (National University of Singapore)

FEBRUARY 22: Zachary Howlett (Cornell University)

FEBRUARY 29: Bai Gao (Duke University)

MARCH 7: Leta Hong Fincher (Chinese University of Hong Kong; Columbia University)

MARCH 14: Timothy Oakes (University of Colorado at Boulder)

MARCH 21: Alex Wang (UCLA)

APRIL 4: Yujie Zhu (Australian National University)

APRIL 11: Wu Man (Pipa player and composer)

APRIL 19: Suzanne Scoggins (Stanford University)

APRIL 25: Philip Tinari (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing)

FALL 2015 Lecture Series

SEPTEMBER 14: Sida Liu (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

SEPTEMBER 21: Yu Zhou (Vassar College)

SEPTEMBER 28: Sebastian Veg (School of Advanced Study in the Social Sciences, Paris)

OCTOBER 5: Maria Repnikova (University of Pennsylvania)

OCTOBER 19: Annetta Fotopoulos (Cornell University)

OCTOBER 26: Michael Meyer (University of Pittsburgh)

NOVEMBER 2: Nick Admussen (Cornell University)

NOVEMBER 9: Aminda Smith (Michigan State University)

NOVEMBER 16: Basile Zimmermann (University of Geneva, Switzerland)

SPRING 2015 Lecture Series

FEBRUARY 23: Tiantian Zheng (SUNY Cortland)

MARCH 2: Carlos Rojas (Duke University)

MARCH 9: Oliver Gao (Cornell University)

MARCH 16: John Yasuda (Univerity of Pennsylvania)

MARCH 23: Karl Gerth (UCSD)

APRIL 6: Christian Sorace (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)

APRIL 13: Anne Marie Brady (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)

APRIL 20: Paola Iovene (University of Chicago)

APRIL 27: Victor Nee (Cornell University)