About the event

China’s recent urban reforms have produced new social tensions, giving rise to a nascent form of urban public—an informal, non-centralized network of lawyers, legal experts, and intellectuals using litigation and legal activism to defend the rights of citizens—based on the notion of weiquan (“rights protection”). Anthropologist Li Zhang (University of California, Davis) examines the widespread urban land disputes using two high-profile cases in different Chinese cities. Important questions raised by this new wave of spatial contestation focus on urban activism, popular politics, and the formation of new publics, as well as re-conceptualizing state reform in post-socialist China.

Discussant: Emily Curtin, PhD Student in Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center