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[I-House Academy / I-House Ushiba Fellowship Public Lecture] The Spatial Logic of Economic Development in Contemporary China


  • [I-House Academy / I-House Ushiba Fellowship Public Lecture]
  • Speaker:G. William Skinner
  • (Professor, University of California, Davis; Ushiba Fellow)
  • Moderator:Takeshi Hamashita, Professor, Ryukoku University
  • Date & Time:Thursday, May 22, 2008, 7:00 pm
  • Venue:Lecture Hall, International House of Japan
  • Admission:1,500 yen (Students:1,000 yen, IHJ Members: Free)
  • Language: English / Japanese (simultaneous interpretation provided)

Prof. Skinner, a leading authority in Asian Studies in postwar America, argues that the prevailing conceptualization of China’s spatial structure—accepted, almost without dissent, in the vast literature on China’s uneven development—is inadequate and misleading. That model treats the level of development as a gradient from advanced coastal provinces to backward provinces in the western interior, reifying this gradient as three belts or zones: coastal, central and western. Using the Geographic Information System (GIS), Prof. Skinner has for the past decade researched and developed an alternative paradigm, viewing the fundamental error in the coast-to-interior developmental gradient to be the assumption that the arena for developmental processes is the country as a whole. In this lecture, Prof. Skinner proposes a new spatial logic of economic development in contemporary China, which could overturn the established theory and give us new clues to understanding a modern China with high economic growth and income disparity.

G. William Skinner

G. William SkinnerWith the employment of an anthropological research method, Prof. Skinner has made an in-depth and groundbreaking study of Chinese society in Southeast Asia and of rural Chinese economic systems, thereby spearheading the advancement of Asian Studies in postwar America. Currently, he is engaged in interdisciplinary research on spatial analyses of regional systems in Asia. Before taking his current post, Prof. Skinner taught at Cornell University, Stanford University and other universities. His major publications include Chinese Society in Thailand: Analytical History (Cornell University Press, 1957)