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Forms of Exchange: China and the Muslim World

Conference/Symposium: Center for Chinese Studies: Institute of East Asian Studies | April 18 | 4-6 p.m. | Faculty Club, Heyns Room


Dawn Murphy, Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program; Wang Suolao, Director, Center for Middle East Studies, School of International Studies, Peking University; Dru Gladney, Anthropology, Pomona College

Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS), Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES), Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)


Chinese have interacted with Muslim populations and communities for over a millennium - since the early days of maritime entrepots and silk road caravans - exchanging goods, arts, and ideas. Today, relations between China and the Muslim world remain complex and varied. China's increasing power brings a new hunger for markets and material, a hunger that has driven overtures to Muslim regions around the world. This conference considers historical connections and contemporary realities of Southeast Asian, Central Asian, and the Middle Eastern relations with China. What factors and interests mediate each region's interactions? To what extent has China has confronted or accommodated Islam, in its various forms, in pursuing its national interests? How has China negotiated international relations in light of recent events, such as a nuclear Iran or the surge of activism collectively called the Arab Spring? And in what ways has exchange with the Muslim world shaped Chinese thought, culture, and contemporary realities? This conference brings together specialists in historical and contemporary relations between China and Muslim regions for an exploration and assessment of interaction and exchange.

In this opening session, the following papers address China's relations with the Middle East:

Dawn Murphy: "Rising Revisionist? China's Evolving Relations with the Middle East in the post-Cold War Era"
Wang Suolao: "China and Islamist Regimes after Arab Spring"
Dru Gladney: "China's Middle East Pivot: The Past is not Prologue"

Opening remarks by Nezar AlSayyad, Professor of Architecture, Planning, and Urban History, and Chair, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley

This conference continues at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, April 19, at the Institute of East Asian Studies.


ieas@berkeley.edu, 510-642-2809