This talk will examine the emergence and impact of the threat image of U.S.-led globalization on national security paradigms in the People’s Republic of China. Beginning in the mid-1990s, internal discussions focusing on national cultural security (NCS) became increasingly influential within elite policymaking circles and directly impacted assessments of comprehensive national security and sovereignty—specifically, how these concepts were to be defined. As a result, NCS became increasingly important to institutions and policy frameworks in ways which anticipated the “cultural turn” in politics and security under Xi Jinping. The talk will also draw parallels between NCS and the People's Liberation Army's evolving doctrine of psychological warfare, hypothesizing that these developments are connected by a shared paradigm uniting strategists within the party-state-army. Its concluding point, and opening for discussion, will be the argument that “Xiism” as an approach to politics, security, and information flow management is grounded in an intellectual and institutional transformation—cultural securitization—which began during the mid-1990s and continues to shape both internal and external state behavior today.
About the Speaker
Matthew D. Johnson is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Taylor’s University, Malaysia. He studied at Harvard University (Social Studies) and the University of California-San Diego (History, China and modern East Asia), and has taught at the University of Oxford, Renmin University of China, and Grinnell College. He is a co-founder of The PRC History Group (prchistory.org) and co-editor of the group’s open-access publication, The PRC History Review. His primary areas of academic research include the Communist Party of China, propaganda and media, U.S.-China relations, and independent documentary filmmaking. He has also written about China’s political-legal environment and economy from the perspective of foreign investment, and on higher education internationalization and mobility within Asia.
After the Seminar
All attendees are invited to join us in the CIW Tea House for informal discussion with the guest speaker after the seminar. With the consent of speakers, seminars are recorded and made publicly available through the Seminar Series’ website to build an archive of research on the Sinophone world.