Online: CGA Lecture Series – Global Frontiers and the Making of Modern China


Speaker: Shellen Xiao Wu
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2023-3-8 | 20:00-21:30 (Shanghai)
2023-3-8 | 7:00-8:30 (New York)
2023-3-8 | 16:00-17:30 (Abu Dhabi)


China successfully navigated through the twentieth century with its imperial territorial expanse largely intact, despite several regime changes. In China, global examples of frontier settlements refracted through its unique history to form a new territoriality that informed the process of modern Chinese state formation. I argue that geo-modernity emerged from this fundamental spatial reconceptualization of Chinese territoriality and drew from the unique dynamics during a turbulent transitional period from empire to nation-state.

Shellen Xiao Wu is the L.H. Gipson Chair in Transnational History at Lehigh University. Her first book, Empires of Coal: Fueling China’s Entry into the Modern World Order, 1860-1920 was published with Stanford University Press in 2015. She has published articles in The American Historical Review, Nature, and other leading journals in history, history of science, and Asian Studies. Her second book, Birth of the Geopolitical Age: Global Frontiers and the Making of Modern China is forthcoming in late summer 2023.

Introduction by Ke Zhang, Associate professor of History and Assistant director of the Asia Research Center at Fudan University.