Timothy Brook. China and Pandemics.
|Organizer||Salt Spring Forum|
China and Pandemics: A historically-informed discussion
The Salt Spring Forum presents professor and author Timothy Brook in a VIDEO ONLY discussion, moderated by Louise Doucet.
What are the political, social, cultural and economic factors that may have contributed to the rise of COVID-19 in China?
What is the history of pandemics in China?
Could China’s apparent recovery from the worst of the pandemic result in an increase to its power and influence relative to other countries?
As with all Salt Spring Forum events, a large part of the discussion will be driven by questions put forward by Forum members and the public. You are warmly invited to send a question related to the description of ‘Great State’ above, to: firstname.lastname@example.org . When doing so, please let us know if we can mention your name if your question is posed. We will ask as many questions as possible, and we apologize in advance if we do not get to yours. Please send in your questions by 2pm on Friday March 27th.
Timothy Brook is a Professor of History at the University of British Columbia and one of the West’s foremost scholars of the social and cultural history of China, with a particular focus on the Ming dynasty and Japan’s occupation of China from 1937-1945. He is also an award-winning author, including of the critically acclaimed ‘Vermeer’s Hat’.
Professor Brook’s latest book has just been published by HarperCollins. ‘Great State: China and the World’ traces China’s relationship with the outside world from the beginning of the Yuan dynasty in 1279 to the present. It recounts the stories of ordinary and extraordinary people who inhabited the spaces where China rubbed shoulders with the rest of the world, and those who continue to do so.
The New Statesman describes the book as ‘A dizzying and exhilarating journey’. Kirkus Reviews calls it ‘An ingenious look at an often misunderstood country’.
China has a long history of pandemics, and of being blamed for them—even if the virus (such as H1N1) originated elsewhere. One of the largest such pandemics was The Third Plague, which was a major bubonic plague pandemic originating in Yunnan in 1855. It resulted in 2 million deaths in China and a further 10 million deaths in India. The Third Plague spread around the globe for more than a century.
China’s history related to pandemics supports Professor Brook’s contention that China has always been closely linked to the rest of the world, despite an image of being inward-looking and highly protective of its independence and culture. Indeed, China was ruled by outsiders for the majority of the eight centuries covered in his book.
China has also benefitted from its ability to assimilate qualities and practices from its conquerors. Most recently, it has used a hard-edged but ‘Peaceful Rise’ to grow into global economic powerhouse. China’s apparent recovery from the worst of COVID-19, just as Europe and the United States begin to seriously suffer, raises the possibility that China’s global power and influence will now grow even further.
The video will be available on the Salt Spring Forum website from Saturday, March 28, 2020.
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