China Seminar | 8 September 2011

China: Confucian? Communist? Capitalist?

Daniel W. Y. Kwok Daniel W. Y. Kwok

2011 marks the centennial of the Chinese Republican Revolution inspired by Sun Yatsen. It also marks the 90th year of the Chinese Communist Party. These two events stencil China’s entry into the modern age of the Twentieth Century, leaving behind the two-thousand-year-old Confucian state/society. Yet, all three adjectives in the title of today’s talk have been applied as nomenclature for China’s modern transformation, sometimes concurrently so as pundits and scholars strive for interpretive meaning of this passage. Daniel Kwok approaches the topic as a historian of China, seeing her present in light of her past.

Founding convener of the China Seminar, Daniel Kwok is professor emeritus of history at the University of Hawaii, where since 1961 he served at intervals as Director of Asia Studies, Chair of the Department of History, Director of the Center of Chinese Studies, founder of the Gannett/Freedom Forum Asia Fellowships for Journalists while offering courses in Chinese intellectual history, the general history of China, Asian Civilizations, and World History. He has held visiting distinguished professorships at University of Hong Kong, Nanyang University and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. An honorary professor of the Committee on Humanities Research of the Chinese National Education Commission, Kwok was also a Senior Fellow (1968-69) and a Senior Adjunct Fellow (2008-09) at the East-West Center. He publishes mainly in Chinese intellectual history.