Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Conversations with Scholars: Thoughts on US-China Relations with Bruce Reynolds and James Kilpatrick

Earlier this afternoon, the Organization of Asian Studies (OAS) hosted an informal luncheon (complete with catering by Au Bon Pain!) with Bruce Reynolds and James Kilpatrick. Professor Bruce Reynolds is a professor of economics at the University of Virginia and a visiting scholar at the Elliott School of International Affairs Institute for International Economic Policy. In the 1980s, Professor Reynolds was one of the first American economists to live in China and study Chinese economic reform. Professor James Kilpatrick is an adjunct professor of economics and international affairs at George Washington University. He traveled extensively in China and Japan and has published numerous articles on China and economics including "Chinese Grain Production: Interpretation of the Data" (China Quarterly, 1978) and “Distinctive Patterns and Prospects in China-Latin America Trade, 1999-2005" (Journal of International Commerce and Economics, 2006).

These two scholars, who are old friends from the economics PhD program at the University of Michigan, offered their insights on the implications of economics for US-China relations. First, Professor Reynolds told how he got interested in China, which began with a Chinese language course during his undergraduate years at Yale University, two years teaching English in Taiwan (he taught at Yujie Zhou's (the treasurer of OAS) high school!), and PhD program at University of Michigan. He gave a few lessons for the students of the audience too: he encouraged us to shake things up and explore. You never know where a beginning language class will lead. Professor Kilpatrick also shared his experiences serving in the US Army, as well as traveling and living in China and Japan.

The two scholars then discussed various topics including an optimistic view of China's peaceful rise, scapegoating, and the exchange-rate controversy. They also answered questions, including topics on trade distortion, labor rights and food prices. It was an incredibly engaging discussion and a great way for OAS members and GW students to come together for this rare opportunity to talk with top China scholars. The OAS executive board is already planning for two more "Conversations with Scholars" events, so stay posted for more events after Spring Break. Email us at oas1@gwu.edu to add your email address to the listerve or for more information on OAS events. The OAS is sponsored by generous support from the Sigur Center and GWU Student Activities Center.

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