This talk explores current US-China hostilities by framing them within China’s recent history and its transformation from socialist third-world country into a capitalist global powerhouse. This new rivalry is unlike the “Cold War” of the last century, as economic decoupling has proven near impossible. Such global connectedness, strikingly revealed by the Covid pandemic, is something we should emphasize and mobilize against nationalist demonization, in order to meaningfully address the urgent questions of military brinksmanship, economic inequality, and ecological devastation.
Andrew B. Liu is an Associate Professor of History at Villanova University. His recent book, Tea War: A History of Capitalism in China and India (Yale University Press, 2020) wove together histories of the Chinese and Indian tea industries into a global and comparative study of capitalism in the rest of the world.
This lecture is organized by the UCSB East Asia Center with generous support from the China Understanding and Peace Fund.