SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

"State Formation in China and Taiwan: Bureaucracy, Campaign, and Performance" Book Talk

Professor Julia Strauss

Date: 7 July 2020Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 7 July 2020Time: 8:30 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Summer School

As part of the 2020 SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School, we kindly ask that you register to attend.

This event will be held online through Blackboard Collaborate.

*Please be aware that all Summer School event times follow British Summer Time (BST)


Julia Strauss 2020 Talk

This is an ambitious comparative study of regime consolidation in the 'revolutionary' People's Republic of China and the 'conservative' Republic of China (Taiwan) in the years following the communist victory against the nationalists on the Chinese mainland in 1949. Julia C. Strauss argues that accounting for these two variants of the Chinese state solely in terms of their divergent ideology and institutions fails to recognise their similarities and their relative successes. Both, after all, emerged from a common background of Leninist party organization amid civil war and foreign invasion. However, by the mid-1950s they were on clearly different trajectories of state-building and development. Focusing on Sunan and Taiwan, Strauss considers state personnel, the use of terror and land reform to explore the evolution of these revolutionary and conservative regimes between 1949 and 1954. In so doing, she sheds important new light on twentieth-century political change in East Asia, deepening our understanding of state formation.


‘A meticulously researched and elegantly presented study of state consolidation in mainland China and Taiwan. By shrinking the mainland geographic focus to Sunan, where the social roots of the communists were relatively weak, Strauss exploits rich archival data and builds analytical leverage to illuminate commonalities and differences in strategies of the two states as outsiders after 1949.'

Melanie Manion - Duke University, North Carolina

‘Historians have long recognized that for all their mutual hostility and apparent ideological opposition, the two regimes on either side of the Taiwan Strait after 1949 actually had much in common. In this provocative and impressively researched work, Julia C. Strauss treats this parallelism as a kind of natural experiment in state consolidation, which she analyzes to produce more general insight into how new states pursue their agendas.'

Michael Szonyi - Harvard University, Massachusetts


Julia Strauss 2020 Profile

Julia C. Strauss received a BA in Chinese Language and European History from Connecticut College (1983) and both an MA and PhD from the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley (1984, 1991). She moved to the Department of Political and International Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 1994. She served as Editor of The China Quarterly from 2002-2011 and was promoted to Professor in 2013. She offers courses in Chinese politics and comparative political sociology.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

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