MARC Lecture with Hepeng Jia, Cornell University

"When Science Controversies Encounter Political Opportunities: Comparing GMO, Hydropower, and Nuclear Power Contentions in Contemporary China"
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22 Apr 2019 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Annenberg School for Communication, Room 224
Open to the Public

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Hepeng Jia, Ph.D., (Cornell University) will present a talk titled, "When Science Controversies Encounter Political Opportunities: Comparing GMO, Hydropower, and Nuclear Power Contentions in Contemporary China."

Please RSVP here if you plan to attend the talk. 

Based on three years’ field study and participatory observation, Jia's talk will trace and compare major S&T controversies – hydropower resistance, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) controversy and nuclear power debate – in contemporary China. By integrating different theoretical approaches, Jia's talk will analyze communication, sociopolitical and knowledge factors associated with and underlying their emergence and evolvement. The resistance of hydropower controversy is a typical reflection of the rising environmentalism and ENGOs that have effectively utilized emerging public environmental awareness, bureaucratic fragmentation, publicness pursuing media, and the shackled knowledge-control regimes to successfully suspend nearly all targeted dams in the past 16 years, while widespread GMO controversy represents a story of how civic epistemology can challenge biotechnologists’ knowledge-control regimes and break their fragile science-politics alliance. Since 2006, China has not commercialized any GM crops. By contrast, nuclear power has shown both narrow political opportunity structure and very strong knowledge-control regimes, thanks to its lack of bureaucratic fragmentation, its historical glory and a lack of public attention. As a result, the debate only temporarily postponed construction of new nuclear power plants.

Hepeng Jia was a leading science journalist in China who just obtained his Ph.D. in science communication at Cornell University. A pioneer in science journalism and science communication in China, Hepeng Jia was the former editor-in-chief of Science News Magazine published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He was also a leading science communication practitioner and had represented Asia as a board member of the World Federation of Science Journalists. He received China’s National Award for Science Popularization in 2010 and Purdue University’s Science Journalism Laureate in 2011. He has published four books, over 30 peer reviewed academic papers in science communication both in Chinese and in English, and more than 1,000 journalistic stories. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts at Beijing-based University of International Relations and his Master of Arts at Beijing-based Tsinghua University.

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