China’s Urban Frontiers: the City as Borderland

timoakesANU China Seminar Series

Professor Timothy Oakes

Thursday 11 August, 4:00-5:30pm
Seminar Room A, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU

This paper will explore urban space as a borderland in China. While China’s borders are typically conceived as the hard edges that bound the territorial state, many cities throughout China have historically been important frontier spaces in which empire and nation encounter the non-Chinese world. The urban revolution currently underway in China has intensified this role of cities within China, while at the same time extending it beyond China’s borders in the form of infrastructural urban development. Chinese financed urban ‘spatial products’ being built throughout Asia, as well as Africa, raise new questions about urbanism as a territorializing strategy, and about urban space as a new kind of Asian borderland.

Tim Oakes is Professor of Geography and Director of the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, USA. His most recent research focuses on urbanism and urban reconstruction in China. Recent articles have appeared in Modern China, Tourist Studies, and Eurasian Geography and Economics. Recent edited volumes include Faiths on Display: Religion, Tourism, and the Chinese State(2010), Real Tourism: Practice, Care, and Politics in Contemporary Travel Culture (2011), and Making Cultural Cities in Asia: Mobility, Assemblage, and the Politics of Aspirational Urbanism (2016).