Event postponed: China, geographical thought and the not quite poststructural revolution

26 March 2013

Please note due to unforseen circumstances, this lecture by Professor Carolyn Cartier has had to be postponed. Further information about the new date and time will be posted here on the CSC website. Apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Co-presented with Sydney Ideas.

The theme of the Third Guangzhou Triennial, "Farewell to Post-Colonialism," continues to reverberate in intellectual thought: where but contemporary China would such a valediction form and take shape? Since the 1970s, the broad paradigm shift from structural to poststructural theory has moved through the international academy with far-reaching implications for university curricula and research priorities, yet the geographical diffusion of this poststructural revolution has been uneven—within universities, among universities within national academies and globally in the international academy. It has linked scholarship in the industrialized world with postcolonial worlds, yielding unprecedented arcs of knowledge formation, whilst its encounters with the Chinese academy, given the predicaments of China's twentieth century history, have been alternatively tentative, reactive and far-reaching. Now China's national project to vault universities into world rankings is leading to questions about the commensurabilities of knowledge formation, questions with implications for research design and international scholarly practice. From perspectives in geographical thought, this talk assesses how ideas moving through the global public sphere take shape and re-form in dialectical encounters with the continuing production of Marxian-inspired thought in the Chinese academy and its aesthetics of paradoxicality. From contemporary art to neoliberal urbanization, and from PM 2.5 to the family fortunes of Wen Jiabao, debates over understanding China arguably evolve in terms of contradiction and paradox—the aesthetic form of dialectical materialism that brings the totality of political debate into view.

Professor Carolyn Cartier

Carolyn Cartier is an urban geographer and research designer working in social theory and China Studies. Her research program concerns understanding the process of urban development in China and Hong Kong from perspectives on spatial transformation behind the spectacle of rapid growth. Her work gives particular attention to the uses of theoretical geography for research on cities and regions in China and the complexities of research practise with neoliberalisation of the international academy.

Professor of Human Geography and China Studies in the China Research Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney, Carolyn Cartier was a member of the faculty at the University of Southern California before joining the Australian academy in 2009. She has been a Fulbright Fellow and is the author of Globalizing South China and co-editor of The Chinese Diaspora: Place, Space, Mobility and Identity and Seductions of Place: Geographical Perspectives on Globalization and Touristed Landscapes. She is also an Adjunct Research Director for the China Urban theme at the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University.