International Conference: “Citizens & the State in Authoritarian Regimes: Comparing Mass Politics & Policy in Russia & China”

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Russia and China are two of the most important authoritarian states in the world, yet much of the scholarship on these countries examines each in isolation. To promote cross-fertilization and encourage greater understandings of these two countries, this spring 2017 conference will bring together a group of scholars at Notre Dame to discuss their research on contemporary Russia and China, their publics, and how the two engage one another in the public sphere. The questions that animate the conference include: How do authoritarian leaders attempt to shape public opinion to ensure regime stability and support? Do these strategies reduce the need for the regime to rely on coercive mechanisms to stay in power? Why and when do some groups mobilize, and how do authoritarian leaders encourage, discourage, and manage these episodes of nationalist activity? In turn, how does popular opinion shape and sharpen what the regime can and cannot do in domestic and foreign policy?