Meet Jingyuan Qian, 2021 APSA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grantee

The American Political Science Association is pleased to announce the Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG) Awardees for 2021. The APSA DDRIG program provides support to enhance and improve the conduct of doctoral dissertation research in political science. Awards support basic research which is theoretically derived and empirically oriented.

Jingyuan Qian, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jingyuan Qian is a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His dissertation project focuses on the role of political campaigns in the statebuilding of China in the 1950s and 1960s. In the first three decades of the People’s Republic of China, Chairman Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a series of mass-mobilized, coercive political campaigns aiming to alter China’s socioeconomic structure and eliminate alleged enemies of the regime. How have these campaigns shaped China’s political trajectory?
The dissertation will analyze the short- and long-term effects of Mao’s coercive political campaigns on various political actors. More specifically, Jingyuan hopes to answer the following questions: how could participation in coercive campaigns affect an official’s loyalty and dependence on the ruler? Did harsher implementation of repressive campaigns make them more or less reliant on the ruler later in their careers? Furthermore, what role did ordinary citizens play during Mao’s mass-mobilized campaigns? Was their participation involuntary and passive, or could they somehow leverage those campaigns to restrain local officials and advance their collective interests? Could the experience of mass mobilization pass down inter-generationally and shape the political participation patterns of contemporary Chinese citizens? The dissertation will propose a theoretical framework for understanding those questions, and will focus on three major campaigns in Maoist China – the Land Reform (1949 – 54), the Anti-Rightist Movement (1957 – 59), and the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 76) – to validate his theory.