China Dreams: 20 Visions of the Future

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9780199896400: China Dreams: 20 Visions of the Future

After celebrating their country's three decades of fantastic economic success, many Chinese are now asking, "What comes next?" How can China convert its growing economic power into political and cultural influence around the globe?

William A. Callahan's China Dreams gives voice to China's many different futures by exploring the grand aspirations and deep anxieties of a broad group of public intellectuals. Stepping outside the narrow politics of officials vs. dissidents, Callahan examines what a third group--"citizen intellectuals"--think about China's future. China Dreams eavesdrops on fascinating conversations between officials, scholars, soldiers, bloggers, novelists, film-makers and artists to see how they describe China's different political, strategic, economic, social and cultural futures. Callahan also examines how the PRC's new generation of twenty- and thirty-somethings is creatively questioning "The China Model" of economic development. The personal stories of these citizen intellectuals illustrate China's zeitgeist and a complicated mix of hopes and fears about "The Chinese Century," providing a clearer sense of how the PRC's dramatic economic and cultural transitions will affect the rest of the world.

China Dreams explores the transnational connections between American and Chinese people, providing a new approach to Sino-American relations. While many assume that 21st century global politics will be a battle of Confucian China vs. the democratic west, Callahan weaves Chinese and American ideals together to describe a new "Chimerican dream."

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About the Author:

William A. Callahan is Chair in International Politics and Research Director of the Centre for Chinese Studies at the University of Manchester. He is the author of China: The Pessoptimist Nation (Oxford University Press) and Contingent States (University of Minnesota Press).


"China Dreams introduces the multitude of visions of China's future-and the world's future-in China today. Bill Callahan is neither a dragon slayer nor a dragon hugger, but a scholar steeped in the certainties, doubts, prejudices, visions and wisdom of some of China's most influential scholars, artists, activists and thinkers. He has done all of us a great service presenting the many voices that speak in China today about the problems and choices that face all of us, Chinese or not, so elegantly and persuasively."--Frank Pieke, Chair of modern China studies, Leiden University

"As China's new leader Xi Jinping puts great emphasis on the 'China dream,' this timely book explains what it is and how it looks back to 5,000 years of Chinese civilization but makes sure to privilege socialism. Exceptional attention is put on the diverse visions proposed by Chinese intellectuals. Grounded in close reading of Chinese sources, including triumphal claims associated with three celebrations--the Beijing Olympics, the sixtieth anniversary of the PRC, and the Shanghai World Expo--the book draws the reader deeply into the realm of Chinese discourse. Callahan vividly shows how it starts with rejection of the West, even when clarity is lacking on alternative Chinese values. An added feature is a comparison of Chinese and American exceptionalism, each seeing its own civilization as uniquely superior."--Gilbert Rozman, Princeton University

"The debate about China's future is immensely significant. As the author of China Dreams demonstrates, it is important not only for that country, but for humanity as a whole. Callahan confidently introduces and assesses the dreamscapes of the world's emerging power. He shows us how contending 'citizen intellectuals' and populist thinkers in China imagine different futures for a country that is heavily burdened by its conflicted pasts. In guiding us through the present hopes and fears, the imaginings and the nightmares of a rising China, he shows that understanding the realm of ideas and culture is important for appreciating the economic, trade, military and social trajectories of the People's Republic."--Geremie R Barmé, Founding Director, Australian Centre on China in the World

"William A. Callahan's China Dreams... takes the discussion out of the theoretical world of historical forces and hypothetical scenarios, and gives modern Chinese a voice." --Ian Johnson, New York Review of Books

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