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Lynn T. White

Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Emeritus; Senior Scholar
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Lynn’s single-author books have covered all major stages of Chinese politics, and he finds parallel patterns in China’s development and that of Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries:

  • *Careers in Shanghai* (about revolutionary consolidation in China during the 1950s and its effects on the residents of China's largest city),
  • *Policies of Chaos* (about the effects of previous revolutionary policies on late-1960s violence in the Cultural Revolution),
  • *Unstately Power* (a two-volume book on local reforms in China, 1970+, of which the first volume won the Association for Asian Studies Levenson Prize as the best book of its year on modern China),
  • *Political Booms* (comparing economic bases of local-political changes in East China, Taiwan, Thailand, and for contrast the Philippines),
  • *Philippine Politics: Possibilities and Problems in a Localist Democracy* (a book that explores causes of economic and political stagnancy in that country on the basis of a paradigm that considers local entrepreneur-leaders who led economic and political changes during other periods in Taiwan, Thailand, and East China),
  • *Democratization in Hong Kong - and China?* (a book of comparative politics, linking factors that help or hinder popular sovereignty to their effectiveness over different spans of time; the question mark is the main part of this title), 
  • *Rural Roots of Reform before China’s Conservative Change* (shows that rural industrial development for two decades after 1970 led to prosperity, inflation, and a loss of Communist Party power – and later, the reactionary politics that culminates in Xi Jinping’s centralism). 

His articles have appeared in the *Journal of Asian Studies*, *American Political Science Review*, *Journal of Contemporary China*, *China Quarterly*, *Journal of Chinese Political Science,* *Asian Survey,* *Asian Politics and Policy* (an article showing historical bases in Korean politics), *China Information* (a new book review and an old article about cross-strait relations), and elsewhere.

Local politics and development on the Yangzi delta flatland around Shanghai is at the center of much of Lynn’s work. He provides evidence that China’s “reforms” (considered as a behavioral phenomenon) grew from an advent of agricultural mechanization and triple-cropping in the late 1960s and early 1970s, not in 1978 as most writers still claim. Socialist planning for many commodities ended by 1986 because rural factories bid up the prices of rural factors that they processed to levels that state industries lacked budgets to buy. These economic changes changed China’s politics, and Party reaction after 1989 largely aimed to re-centralize governance to extend party-state longevity. Lynn looks at politics in non-state institutions, at their effects on state structure, and at both unintended situations and leaders’ intentions (those of local and medial leaders, not just central ones who advertise themselves a great deal). His recent working papers concern kinds of political participation beyond elections, and kinds of appeals in political mobilization.

Lynn is a lifetime member of the Association for Asian Studies and of the American Political Science Association. He enjoys serving as discussant on panels concerning Asian politics. Lists of his many former doctoral and undergraduate students who now have academic tenure or other important jobs in Asian fields are on pages 8-9 of his c.v.