The Dean of Shandong: Confessions of a Minor Bureaucrat at a Chinese University (Hardcover)

The Dean of Shandong: Confessions of a Minor Bureaucrat at a Chinese University By Daniel a. Bell Cover Image
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An inside view of Chinese academia and what it reveals about China's political system

On January 1, 2017, Daniel Bell was appointed dean of the School of Political Science and Public Administration at Shandong University--the first foreign dean of a political science faculty in mainland China's history. In The Dean of Shandong, Bell chronicles his experiences as what he calls "a minor bureaucrat," offering an inside account of the workings of Chinese academia and what they reveal about China's political system. It wasn't all smooth sailing--Bell wryly recounts sporadic bungles and misunderstandings--but Bell's post as dean provides a unique vantage point on China today.

Bell, neither a Chinese citizen nor a member of the Chinese Communist Party, was appointed as dean because of his scholarly work on Confucianism--but soon found himself coping with a variety of issues having little to do with scholarship or Confucius. These include the importance of hair color and the prevalence of hair-dyeing among university administrators, both male and female; Shandong's drinking culture, with endless toasts at every shared meal; and some unintended consequences of an intensely competitive academic meritocracy. As dean, he also confronts weightier matters: the role at the university of the Party secretary, the national anticorruption campaign and its effect on academia (Bell asks provocatively, "What's wrong with corruption?"), and formal and informal modes of censorship. Considering both the revival of Confucianism in China over the last three decades and what he calls "the Communist comeback" since 2008, Bell predicts that China's political future is likely to be determined by both Confucianism and Communism.

About the Author

Daniel A. Bell is Chair Professor of Political Theory with the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong. He served as Dean at Shandong University's School of Political Science and Public Administration from 2017 to 2022. He is the author of The China Model, Just Hierarchy (with Wang Pei), Beyond Liberal Democracy, China's New Confucianism (all Princeton), and other books.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780691247120
ISBN-10: 0691247129
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: March 28th, 2023
Pages: 208
Language: English