MSU Press book series editor, Stephen J. Hartnett is pictured center teaching a workshop in China; Dr. Louisa Ha (Left) and Dr. Guo Ke (Right) are also pictured.

Building Bridges of Understanding and Collaboration: MSU Press in China

By Stephen J. Hartnett

In June, scholars from around the world attended the Minzu University International Conference on Convergence, Diversity, and Development in Beijing, China. Seeking to counter the rising tension between China and the United States, more than 150 scholars focused on finding common ground across a wide range of international issues.

As a part of the conference organizing team, and representing the Michigan State University Press book series “US–China Relations in the Age of Globalization,” I was proud to lead a publishing workshop, helping to demystify the publishing process for international colleagues.

We focused on three areas:

  • “Convergence” suggests the overlapping, intersecting, and intermingling of different communication infrastructures, platforms, and genres. The term can imply consolidation and homogenization, yet it also leads to communication fractures, feedback, and realignment. This work was chaired by Dr. Guobin Yang, the Grace Lee Boggs professor of Communication and Sociology at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.
  • “Development” points to the geopolitics of modernization, including the ways US, Chinese, and international forces seek to spread political power by engaging in development projects in the Global South. The process can be empowering and uplifting, yet it can also echo forms of colonialism, particularly when development appears to conflict with local forms of diversity. This work was co-chaired by Dr. Eddah Mutua, professor of communication studies at St. Cloud University, and Dr. Kundai Chirindo, chair of the Department of Rhetoric and Media Studies at Lewis and Clark College.
  • “Diversity” can suggest the intentional process of expanding the range of voices included in civil society or be a catchphrase that leads to appropriation, cooptation, and even erasure. Dr. Tina M. Harris, the Douglas L. Manship Sr.-Dori Maynard Race, Media, and Cultural Literacy Endowed Chair at Louisiana State University, chaired this work.
Group photo from Minzu University International Conference. It says Convergence University and Development along the top in English.

To supplement our work on convergence, development, and diversity, I organized a publishing workshop to empower junior colleagues and international scholars seeking to share their work with wider audiences. Dr. Louis Ha and Dr. Guo Ke, represented their journal, Online Media and Global Communication, and Dr. Shaunak Sastry spoke on behalf of the journal Health Communication. Jiang Qiaolei represented Technology in Society, while Pan Wenjiang spoke about Human Communication Research.

To learn more about this series, visit

Photo 1. MSU Press book series editor Stephen J. Hartnett is pictured at the center teaching a workshop in China: Dr. Louisa Ha (left) and Dr. Guo Ke (right). Photo provided by Stephen J. Hartnett.

Photo 2. Group photo of Minzu University International Conference in Beijing. Photo provided by Stephen J. Hartnett.