A Second Industrious Revolution: Contemporary Rural Development in China through the Lens of the Eighteenth Century


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships




This project examines the economic rise of China and concurrent social problems from a historical comparative perspective. It hypothesizes that China’s rural economic expansion in the early reform period constituted an “industrious revolution” analogous to that in the 18th century and that social leveling was a necessary precondition. An industrious revolution is defined as a development path alternative to Braudelian capitalism and different from the Industrial Revolution. The project intends to explore how the concept of industrious revolution can shed new light on long-term historical change in China and provide implications for solving contemporary development problems such as underemployment and livelihood insecurity.