East Asia by the Book! CEAS Author Talks: Covell Meyskens - "Mao's Third Front: The Militarization of Cold War China" - Virtual Event

Thursday, February 11, 2021 - 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Covell Meyskens

Covell Meyskens will discuss Mao's Third Front: The Militarization of Cold War China. He will be joined in conversation by Koji Hirata.

Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago Center for East Asian Studies

Virtual event


About the book: In 1964, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) made a momentous policy decision. In response to rising tensions with the United States and Soviet Union, a top-secret massive military industrial complex in the mountains of inland China was built, which the CCP hoped to keep hidden from enemy bombers. Mao named this the Third Front. The Third Front received more government investment than any other developmental initiative of the Mao era, and yet this huge industrial war machine, which saw the mobilization of fifteen million people, was not officially acknowledged for over a decade and a half. Drawing on a rich collection of archival documents, memoirs, and oral interviews, Covell Meyskens provides the first history of the Third Front campaign. He shows how the militarization of Chinese industrialization linked millions of everyday lives to the global Cold War, merging global geopolitics with local change.

About the author: Covell Meyskens is Assistant Professor of Chinese history in the National Security Affairs Department at the Naval Postgraduate School. He works on capitalist and anti-capitalist development in modern China, especially as it relates to building big infrastructure projects.

About the interlocutor: Professor Hirata studied law and political science at the University of Tokyo as an undergraduate and then completed his M.Phil in history at the University of Bristol where he began his studies on modern Chinese history.  He then completed his Ph.D. in history at Stanford University. His research is in modern China, Japan, and Russia with broader research interests in the global history of capitalism and socialism.

About CEAS: The Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) and its three Committees — the Committee on Japanese Studies, the Committee on Chinese Studies, and the Committee on Korean Studies — work to enhance opportunities available to scholars both in the United States and abroad, and to foster communication and inter-disciplinary collaboration among the community of professors and students at the University of Chicago and throughout the wider East Asian Studies community.

Event Location: