Wu Guo

Associate Professor of History and Coordinator of the Chinese Studies Programme, Allegheny College

WU Guo is Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Chinese Studies programme at Allegheny College, US. He holds a PhD in history from the State University of New York at Albany in the US and has been a visiting research fellow at institutions such as the Center for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Fudan University, the Academia Sinica (Taipei), and Southwest University in Chongqing, China. He is the author of two English-language monographs, over twenty English-language research articles and book reviews, and over thirty Chinese-language articles, book reviews, and essays.

In this file photo taken on 6 January 2021 Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC. (Alex Edelman/AFP)

US colleges rethink purpose of higher education after Capitol siege

The storming of the US Capitol on 6 January prompted a spate of statements, essays, and other reflections, particularly by US college presidents. What is the purpose of education, and what is the role of colleges in imparting higher ideals such as civic awareness and a respect for minority rights? US-based academic Wu Guo analyses the situation.
US President Joe Biden salutes as first lady Jill Biden puts her hand over her heart during the pass in review after the inauguration ceremony, in Washington, US, 20 January 2021. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

What can we expect from Biden's 'approach of patience' towards US-China relations

Those in China hoping that the Biden administration’s new broom will sweep US-China relations clean may be in for a disappointment. Truth be told, Trump’s words were harsh and actions brash, but his sentiments reflected the times. US academic Wu Guo unravels the true meaning of the Biden administration's “approach of patience” towards China.
People wearing face masks walk past a Chinese flag in Beijing, China, 11 January 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Why do the Chinese behave this way? China's 'middle society' holds the clue

Even as Western academics are translating essays by Chinese academics in a bid to understand China better, Wu Guo says that in the field of cultural psychology, the views of the well-educated “middle society“ in China are worth tapping into. Do the trauma of national humiliation and other cultural baggage explain China’s rising nationalism and persistent “grand unification strategy”?
A pedestrian walks past a mural from the "Heart of Cyberpunk" exhibition in Sham Shui Po district in Hong Kong on 24 October 2020. (Photo by May JAMES / May James / AFP)

'Transnational Chinese-language cyber intellectual enclaves': An emerging phenomenon

Wu Guo observes that with the prevalence of WeChat and other online platforms, “transnational Chinese-language cyber intellectual enclaves” are emerging. Such an avenue is freeing for some, as ethnic Chinese academics around the world who mainly use the Chinese language now have an avenue to share their views with other ethnic Chinese in or outside China. But for those keeping track of where the centre of gravity of China discourse is moving towards and who fear being left out of the conversation — should they be worried?   
A supporter of US President Donald Trump carries a teddy bear and a semi-automatic rifle at a "Stop the Steal" protest after the 2020 US presidential election was called for Democratic candidate Joe Biden, at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC), in Phoenix, Arizona, US, 9 November 2020. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

Globalisation and the American blue-collar workers who voted for Trump

US-based academic Wu Guo observes that white Americans without a university education are still the group in the country most vulnerable to the ill-effects of globalisation. With manufacturing moving overseas to countries such as China, many of these Americans doing “hands-on jobs” as blue-collar workers lost their jobs and had their middle-class dreams shattered. At the same time, they are not able to leapfrog to hi-tech manufacturing that calls for specialised skills. How can this serious issue be tackled? Would bringing back manufacturing jobs from China help?
People walk in the tourist area surrounding Houhai Lake during Chinese National Day holidays in Beijing, China, 2 October 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

The China story is not just about politics, Confucius and mooncakes

For China to spread its culture abroad successfully, the China story needs to be modernised, says Wu Guo. Ancient Chinese history and literature may be too daunting, while mooncakes and fan dances may be too superficial. People want to know what the Chinese man on the street thinks about, and what his culture of today is. Contemporary cultural products such as idol dramas and pop groups may do the trick, but so would down-to-earth insight into the lives of Chinese people. Often, just a peek into the everyday is enough to know we’re all not so different after all.