World-renowned scholar Professor Andrew G. WALDER visited College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) for two weeks in March 2018 and delivered a lecture entitled “Changing the Course of Chinese History: The Paradoxical Legacy of the Cultural Revolution” on 22 March 2018. The lecture which was chaired by Dr Chris CHAN of Department of Applied Social Sciences attracted a full house.
At the lecture, Professor Walder discussed the historical legacy of the Cultural Revolution in China and its four-fold impact. He argued that it weakened the bureaucracy and the vested interests in the old system; it caused economic stagnation and extensive damage to China’s scientific and technological capacities; it left a pragmatic senior leader in a prominent position; and the opening to the West in the early 1970s later led to development aid.
An animated discussion took place after the lecture. Audience members asked about the lessons learnt from the “ten years of turmoil”, especially in terms of relating them to the current situation. Professor Walder commented that if decisive reform is needed, China needs a strong leader and a powerful executive because it is more difficult to push through reforms in China now than in Deng Xiaoping’s time. Students were also interested in ways to study the Cultural Revolution, and Professor Walder explained that many resources and materials are now available in academia.
Professor Andrew G. Walder is currently the Denise O’Leary and Kent Thiry Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Senior Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University in the United States. In addition to delivering a lecture during his stay at CLASS, Professor Walder also met with a number of CLASS students to discuss their academic plans and to give advice on some of the students’ dissertations.
Photo 2: The lecture delivered by Professor Walder attracted a full house.