The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) is pleased to share that Professor Jean C. Oi has been elected to serve as vice president of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), an international, 5,000-member organization dedicated to the advancement of scholarly study of Asia. She will begin her term after the AAS Annual Conference in March 2022, serving on a four-year AAS leadership ladder of vice president, president, and past president.
“I am honored to have been elected as the AAS Vice President and look forward to steering it through its next chapter of development,” says Oi, a China expert who has served on the Stanford faculty since 1997. She is the William Haas Professor of Chinese Politics in the department of political science, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the founding director of the China Program at APARC, and the founding Lee Shau Kee Director of the Stanford Center at Peking University.
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In a letter to AAS members, Oi highlights her desire to attract to the AAA the younger generation of scholars, who increasingly focus on their disciplines rather than on area expertise. “As Asia gains in importance, our responsibility to educate scholars who not only possess mastery over their disciplinary knowledge but also area expertise seems increasingly critical,” she says.
Representing all the regions and countries of Asia and all academic disciplines, the AAS is the largest organization of its kind. The Association’s objectives are to promote cooperative activities and exchange of information within the field of Asian studies, facilitate contact and exchange of information between scholars and scholarly organizations in North America interested in Asian studies and those in other countries, and provide means for the publication of research and educational materials designed to advance Asian studies.
Oi’s research focuses on comparative politics, Chinese political economy, corporate restructuring, and governance in Asia. She has conducted fieldwork in China since the mid-1980s and has written extensively on China's rural politics, central-local relations, and how China’s political and economic institutions have adapted to the tensions and opportunities wrought by the country’s dramatic transformation. Her most recent book, the edited volume, Fateful Decisions: Choices That Will Shape China's Future, analyzes today's most critical demographic, economic, social, political, and foreign policy challenges facing China's leaders that will determine the country's future course. Her newest research project focuses on China going global with its Belt and Road Initiative.
Oi brings to her new role with the AAS over three decades of experience in advancing social science research on contemporary China, and a track record of building platforms for Asia education, research, and engagement that benefit scholars, students, and professionals across disciplines. She has been a member of the AAS since 1974. Her commitment to the organization is reflected in her previous service to the organization, including as a member and chair of the China and Inner Asia Council, and her responsibilities on the Annual Conference Program Committee.