Seminar - Contingent Event Causality: Did Civilian Massacres Trigger Nationalist Revolutions in India (1919) and China (1925)?
11:00am - 12:30pm
Room 3401 (Lift 2 or Lifts 17-18), 3/F Academic Building

Critical events in politics—defined as sudden and surprising occurrences that trigger a chain of events leading to a significant and unanticipated outcome—are undertheorized for their causal properties, or regarded as random occurrences that cannot be brought under theoretical propositions. This paper examines two events in which lethal repression was used by security forces against unarmed protestors. It considers the claim, often noted in subsequent nationalist narratives, that the massacres triggered the radicalization of nationalist movements in India (1919) and China (1925). Using process tracing and counterfactual analysis, the paper asks to what extent the shootings constitute necessary and/or sufficient conditions for the subsequent realignment of the nationalist movements and surprising concessions made by imperial Great Britain. The paper also considers the effort in social science research to look for general causes to explain outcomes across multiple cases, in contrast to within-case analysis of non-generalizable historical events as explanatory factors.

Room 3401 (Lift 2 or Lifts 17-18), 3/F Academic Building
Recommended For
Faculty, RPG students
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Speaker: Prof Mark W. FRAZIER, Professor and Chair of Politics, The New School


Mark W. Frazier is Professor and Chair of Politics at The New School, where he also serves as Co-Director of the India China Institute.

His research interests focus on labor and social policy in China, and more recently on political conflict over urbanization, migration, and citizenship in China and India. His latest book, The Power of Place: Contentious Politics in Twentieth Century Shanghai and Bombay (Cambridge University Press, 2019), examines long-term changes in political geographies and patterns of popular protest in the two cities. He is also the author of Socialist Insecurity: Pensions and the Politics of Uneven Development in China (Cornell University Press, 2010), The Making of the Chinese Industrial Workplace (Cambridge University Press, 2002), and Co-Editor of the SAGE Handbook of Contemporary China (2018). He has authored op-ed pieces and essays for The New York TimesDaedalus, and The Diplomat.

Frazier has been a fellow in the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations since 2005, and was a Fulbright Research Fellow in China in 2004-05. Before assuming his current position at The New School in 2012, he held a chaired professorship in Chinese Politics at the University of Oklahoma and was the Luce Assistant Professor in the Political Economy of East Asia at Lawrence University, a liberal arts college in Wisconsin.


Host: Prof Kellee TSAI, Dean and Chair Professor, School of Humanities and Social Science, HKUST 

Speakers / Performers:
Prof Mark W. FRAZIER
Professor and Chair of Politics, The New School
Division of Social Science
Division of Humanities
Global China Center
Humanities & Social Science
Public Policy