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The Impact of the Olympics: Jeffrey Wasserstrom

March 27, 2009

Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Jeff Wasserstrom studied at UC Santa Cruz, Harvard, and UC Berkeley. He previously taught at the University of Kentucky, Indiana University, and UC San Diego and is now professor of history at UC Irvine. He is the editor of the Journal of Asia Studies and is the author or editor of nine books. His most recent books are Global Shanghai, 1850-2010: A History in Fragments (author, 2008) and China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance (co-editor, 2009). He has also consulted on two documentary films (most recently, Morning Sun) and he has contributed essays to a number of prominent newspapers and blogs. Wasserstrom is also a founder of and steadfast contributor to The China Beat, one of the liveliest China-corners on the web.


This video is also available on the USCI YouTube Channel.

Click on the play button above to view Jeffrey Wasserstrom’s presentation.

The Olympics were intended to give the world a chance to learn anew about China, so that Western audiences could replace old images of a backward country with fresh visions of modern one.  This happened, but frequently the effect was not quite what Beijing's leaders (or the IOC) hoped, due to controversies associated with human rights and other issues.  In addition, there were key moments, such as the Opening Ceremonies, when international audiences failed to learn all they might have from what they were seeing, due to the spin provided by soundbite driven media.  In addition to looking back at the Beijing Games, this presentation will ask what, if any, lessons we can take from 08/08/08 as we prepare for 05/01/10--the day that Shanghai takes the global spotlight when the 2010 World Expo, China's First World's Fair, opens for business.

Jeff Wasserstrom covers some of these topics in a March 3, 2009 contribution to the Huffington Post.

Click here to return to the USC Beijing Olympics conference page.