Wu Guo

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 four English-language monographs, over twenty English-language research articles and book reviews, and over thirty Chinese-language articles, book reviews, and essays.

People visit a pedestrian street on the Bund in Shanghai, China, on 14 February 2024. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Attaining 'success': Chinese scholars and their journeys in the US

US academic Wu Guo looks into what makes Chinese scholars a success in the US. Were they already considered a talent in China before heading to the US, or did they become talents only after completing their studies in the US? And while these Chinese scholars have gained recognition in the US, they are still anxious about being “seen” by mainstream American academics and building rapport with their American students.
People walk outside Grand Central Terminal in New York on 26 January 2024. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

US elite schools churning out 'perfect followers', not change makers?

Commentator Wu Guo notes how Ivy League schools in the US have churned out people who are academically brilliant, but unable to connect with real life or relate to real issues around them. Such indifference is symptomatic of US elites from top backgrounds.
Pedestrians in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York, US, on 26 December 2023. (Eilon Paz/Bloomberg)

US academic: Chinese Americans and racial discrimination in the US

Academic Wu Guo notes that ethnic politics is fundamentally a narrative and institutional tool dominated by the ethnic majority. He looks at how white elites in the US shaped the politics of demographic categorisation and identity labels in the country and at their attempts to stir up identity politics in other countries. He asks: are the very people classified as "people of colour" aware of these issues or are they just as guilty of racism and having a tendency towards "social Darwinism"?
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger listens to a question at the China Development Forum, in Beijing, China, on 21 March 2015. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

Assessing Kissinger: It's not just about China-US relations

Academic Wu Guo notes that if Chinese academics in the West are unable to get out of their narrow-minded “box stuffed with Chinese-ness” worldview and stop evaluating individuals based on the sole criterion of improving China-US relations, it may be difficult to have a truly insightful global dialogue.
People participate in the 2023 NYC Pride March in Manhattan, New York, on 25 June 2023. (David Dee/Reuters)

Why first-gen Chinese immigrants in the US detest white progressive ideals

Issues such as gender diversity and environmental protection seem to be too abstract for first-generation Chinese immigrants in the US, who see these problems as having no impact on day-to-day life. US academic Wu Guo mulls over the reasons why this group of new immigrants, for all their desires to be part of the American education system, is a staunch detractor of progressive ideals that are part and parcel of the system itself.
Men gather at a labour market in Beijing on 15 August 2023, where people are hired for temporary jobs at factories and construction sites. (Pedro Pardo/AFP)

China’s information wall is distorting people’s worldviews

US-based academic Wu Guo visited his friends and relatives in China after the lifting of Covid restrictions. Based on his observations and interactions, he shares his worries that most Chinese only have one single source of information, and live in a world of simplified Chinese characters, which could result in them developing a distorted and illusory view of the world. 
A woman wearing a protective face mask walks by a graffiti painted wall in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York City, US, 11 May 2023. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Vast difference in expectations of local governments in the US and in China

Wu Guo notes that local governments in the US are rarely intrusive in the lives of residents, often getting involved only in matters of taxation, public environment and public health. But corruption and dereliction of duty does exist too, and Chinese immigrants may miss that if they do not cast off their utopian blinkers.
People make their way around Times Square amid smoke from Canada wildfires on 7 June 2023 in New York City. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)

Shedding the passive image: Ethnic Chinese need to step up in US society

Asians are generally known to be humble, tend to keep a low profile, and not strive for leadership positions. However, US academic Wu Guo argues that perhaps it is time for ethnic Chinese to take a leaf from white Americans’ book and learn to be confident enough to step up.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis greets attendees and signs books after his remarks as he makes his first trip to the early voting state of Iowa for a book tour stop at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, US, 10 March 2023. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The US is seeing a right-wing resurgence

Political rising star and possible candidate for future US president Ron DeSantis has set off a public debate on racism and its place in the American education system. But beneath the public backlash lies the perennial tussle between the conservative right and progressive left. While the US’s polarised state is a given, is the US society shifting further towards the right?