About the talk: 
From the 1850s until the mid-twentieth century, from Asia to Europe and the Americas, countries around the world engaged with new interpretations of empire and the deployment of science and technology to aid frontier development in extreme environments. Through a century of political turmoil and war, China nevertheless is the only nation to successfully navigate the twentieth century with its imperial territorial expanse largely intact. In Birth of the Geopolitical Age, Shellen Xiao Wu demonstrates how global examples of frontier settlements refracted through China's unique history and informed the making of the modern Chinese state. Wu shows how reshaping of Chinese geopolitical ambitions in the twentieth century, and the global transformation of frontiers into colonial laboratories, continues to reorder global power dynamics in East Asia and the wider world to this day.
About the speaker: 
Shellen Xiao Wu is associate professor and the L.H. Gipson Chair in Transnational History at Lehigh University. Her new book, Birth of the Geopolitical Age: Global Frontiers and the Making of Modern China (Stanford University Press, 2023) traces the global history of the frontier in the twentieth century, with an emphasis on China. She is also the author of Empires of Coal: Fueling China’s Entry into the Modern World Order, 1860-1920 (Stanford University Press, Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, 2015). Wu has received fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the National Humanities Center, the Luce/ACLS Program in China Studies, Fulbright, and the Mellon Foundation. She has published articles in Nature, The American Historical Review, International History Review, and other leading journals in history, history of science, and Asian Studies. She is the chair of the East and Inner Asia Council of the Association of Asian Studies (2022-2024) and president of the Historical Society for Twentieth Century China (2022-2024).

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