Speaking and Media


I comment in the media and speak regularly at companies, universities, high schools, think tanks and appear in the media on many of the issues I write about. (Please see the articles page for a complete list of subjects and publications.)

Some of the most popular Chinese topics include: how changing social values impact foreign businesses, China's political climate, the government's reform agenda, and Chinese people's search for values and religion. European topics include the rise of Islamism, history, Germany after reunification, and the creation of the new Berlin. 

Please feel free to contact me via The China's Speakers Bureau, or directly by email at info@ian-johnson.com 
 U.S.-China Catholic Association
06-07 August 2021
"Catholicism in the Xi Jinping Era"
Keynote address. 
Details TK.
Sophia University Tokyo
13 May 2021
China's political landscape.
Private lecture.
Pulitzer Center Annual Conference
21 April 2021
"Environment (Re)Defined."
China Panel, 9 am
Details here.
Princeton University
21 April 2021
"Writing a New History of China"
Details and registration here.
International Horizons
12 April 2021
A podcast with John Torpey of the City University of New York's Ralph Bunche Institute. We discuss China from imperial times to today--a fun, freewheeling discussion.
Listen to it on Soundcloud here.
Transcript and background here.
Brown China Summit
10/11 April 2021
Keynote address and panel discussion
Details here.
International Visitor Leadership Program
6 April 2021
Private discussion with State Department-sponsored program to explain prospects for change in China.
St. Teresa of Avila Parish (Chicago)
24 March 2021
Public talk on Catholicism in China
YouTube recording of presentation here.
Duke University China-U.S. Summit 2021
20 March 2021
Panel 1: Culture and Society
Details here
University of Virginia's Religion, Race & Democracy Lab
18 March 2021
Informed Perspectives lecture series.
Panel discussion: "Race & Religion in China"
Details and registration here.
Recording of event on vimeo here.
Afternoon Drive Home
9 March 2021
Radio 101.5 Pittsburgh interview on Souls of China
Listen and watch on Facebook feed starting around 1'15" here.
Princeton US-China Coalition
6 March 2021
Discussion with PUCC students on journalism in China after the expulsion of U.S. journalists last year. With Amy Qin from the New York Times and Jeremy Goldkorn from SupChina.
28th Annual Asian Studies Development Program, East-West Center
4 March 2021
"Knowing Practices Intersecting"
Keynote address on how knowledge evolves, including bodily knowledge, such as martial arts, meditation, and medicine.
Registration  here.
California State University San Bernardino
22 February 2021
"Modern China Lecture" on the state of Sino-US relations, and the state of journalism in China. Details here.
YouTube recording here.
National University of Singapore
15 December 2020
   "Civil Society or Nostalgic Escapism?" Public lecture on how to interpret the popularity of pilgrimage associations in Beijing. Registration here.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
21 November 2020
   Private discussion with faculty about how to engage with China. 
European Citizen Education Network
6 November 2020
  "China's Moment in World Politics?" Panel disussion with Zhang Junhua, EAIS; Kristin Shi-Kupfer, Uni Trier; Christoph Müller-Hofstede moderator.
   Details here
Chulalongkorn University
5 November 2020
  Facebook live discusion with students of the Faculty of Political Science. Thanks to Prof. Wasana Wongsurawat for moderating the event. 
   Watch the video here.
University of Chicago
29 October 2020
   “Writing a New History of China: How Chinese Intellectuals Are Trying to Fill in Blank Spaces in Contemporary Chinese History.” 6 pm Chicago time. 
   Details here.
Bridge Project
16 October 2020
   "The Souls of China." Zoom lecture and discussion about the role of religion in China, as part of the Bridge Project's new exhibition on Chinese sacred art. Discussant will be Promise Hsu, author of a new book on liberty in China. Info here.
Chinese University of Hong Kong
16 October 2020
   "My Successes and Failures as a Twenty-Year China Hand." Zoom lecture open to the public at CUHK. Registration and more info here.
   You can see the talk on YouTube here.
Rutgers University
25 Sept 2020
  "Twenty Years in China: A Journalist's Experience on Trends and Developments." Talk to Asian Studies and Journalism students via Zoom. For a summary, please click here. To watch the video, click here.
Hong Kong Baptist University
10 Sept 2020
   "Losing Perspective: How the Rupture in Sino-US Relations Will Hurt Our Understanding of Grassroots China."
   A talk to journalism students via Zoom.
The World and Everything In It
20 August 2020
  An interview on what it means when the United States closes itself off to China. Listen to the interview here
ABC Australia Late Night Live
18 August 2020
   A long interview with one of Australia's top radio shows on what it was like having my life turned upside-down by being expelled from China. The host was more than a little too flattering in comparing me to Joseph Needham ("the man who loved China"). Listen to the show here.
Barbarian at the Gate
7 July 2020
 An irreverant podcast with the inimicable Jeremiah Jenne and David Moser. We discuss working in China, fatherhood, and basically what a crazy-ass year 2020 has turned out to be. Listen to it here.
Asia Matters
18 March 2020
Podcast discussion with Parag Khanna and hosts Andrew Peaple and Vincent Ni on the coronavirus, China, and Asia. 
Listen here.
Deep Background
14 March 2020
Podcast with Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman on the coronavirus. Listen to it on iTunes or other services here.
Abu Dhabi ECSSR
11 December 2019
Book lecture at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research on the origins of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe
Details here.
University of Notre Dame
28 October 2019
South Bend, IN
Notre Dame University
Details here.
You can see a video of my talk here
and hear an interview on Church Life Today here.
Loyola University
29 October 2019
Public lecture on religion in China
Details here
BBC Weekend
27 July 2019
Ten-minuted taped interview about the death of former Premier Li Peng, nicknamed the "butcher of Beijing" for his role in the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen crackdown and his legacy as an authoritarian technocrat--in essence a template for the people running China today.
Show site is here but episodes only stay up for three weeks. 
Leipzig University
3 July 2019
Public lecture: "Religion in China: Back to the Center of Society and Politics."
Biblioteca Albertina, Cafe Alibi, 8 pm. Details here.
BBC Television
4 June 2019
Interview on how Chinese people keep the memory of Tiananmen alive despite efforts to eliminate it. Based on this op-ed in the New York Times.
Princeton University
24-25 April 2018
Public lecture details here.
Hoover Institution, Stanford University
22 April 2018
Discussion about Li Rui papers.
Closed event.
Foreign Policy
30 March 2019
Interview on Islam's troubles in China. Read the article here.
The Initium
15 March 2019
Interview with the Hong Kong publication on Chinese politics, search for values. Read it (in Chinese) unpaywalled here.
13 March 2019
Outtakes of my March 8 interview with Sherry Lee. One small correction: I meant to say my stick-fighting was *not* good (because it isn't!). 
Read it in Chinese here.
The Reporter
08 March 2019
In-depth interview by Sherry Lee, editor of Taiwan's leading magazine of long-form journalism. 
Read it (in Chinese) here.
BBC The Real Story
3 March 2019
One-hour roundtable discussion on the economic and demographic challenges facing China, Inc.
Listen to the podcast or download the show here.
Talks in Taipei, Taiwan 
15 February 2019
Discussion at Tapei Book Fair for launch of Taiwan edition of Souls
Click here for the FB event page.
16 February 2019
 一個西方記者如何書寫中國?[How Does a Western Journalist Write About China?] 討論會(地點:未定,與談人:林育立、李雪莉)
Tickets here.
18 February 2019
「當代華人宗教中心」學術討論會. 地點:國立政治大學,主辦人:林敬智助理教授)
The Economist
17 January 2019 issue
The magazine discusses my Foreign Affairs piece (read it unpaywalled here) on how China is coopting some religions and persecuting others. 
26 December 2018
"Beijing's crackdown on religion clouds the holiday season for the country's faithful."
Read the article here.
National Public Radio
26 December 2018
"Chinese Authorities Raid Two Prominent Independent Churches."
Read or listen to the piece here.
Brush Talks
December 2018
An interview about journalism, working in China, cliches about China, my pet peeves about how foreigners write about China and.... Read the interview here.
Dec. 3 and 5
Talks in Bratislava and Kosice as part of their Pulitzer Prize winners' lecture series. Details here and registration here.
Einstein Forum
13 December 2018
Potsdam, Germany
"Die Seelen Chinas" (lecture in German)
Details here.
Portland State University
10 October 2018
Details here.
Baylor University
3 October 2018
Details here.
Auburn University
2 October 2018
Littleton-Franklin Lectures 
Details here.
Gethsemane Church Berlin
13 July 2018
Keynote speaker for a global commemoration on the anniversary of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo's death, along with Herta Müller, Wolf Biermann, Liao Yiwu and Liu's recently released widow Liu Xia.
Details, including Chinese, English and German versions of the talk, please click here.
China Institute
New York City
7 June 2018
"Ethical Dilemmas: Rebuilding China's Moral Foundation," panel discussion with Rutgers University's Jiang Tao, moderated by Barbara Demick. 
Details here
China Zentrum
(Sankt Augustin, Germany)
12 April 2018
Talk at the Jahresakademie:
"Gott und Glauben in Xi Jinpings China." 
3 pm. Details here.
Konfuzius Institut an der FU Berlin
16 April 2018
"Die Rückkehr von Tradition und die Suche nach 
neuen Werten im China der Gegenwart"
19 April 2018
"Li Manshan: Portrait of a Folk Daoist"
Moderation of film screening by Stephen Jones.
Details for both events here.
School of Law
19 March 2018
"China's Search for Faith and Values"
12 noon to 2 pm. Details here
UC Irvine
20 March 2018
Search for Meaning: Return of Religion and Spirituality in China
3-4 pm. Details here.
UC San Diego
21 March 2018
"The Return of Religion and China's Future"
5 pm. Details here.
Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting
Washington, D.C.
24 March 2018
Book signing. 
2-3 pm.
Washington Marriott Wardman Park, Random House booth.
Purdue University
27 March 2018
Center on Religion and Chinese Society
"The Confucian Dream?"
West Layfayette Public Library
4:30-6 pm. Details here.
University of London
School of Oriental and African Studies.
15 January 2018
5-7 pm. Details here.
Cambridge University
16 January 2018
5-7 pm.
Chatham House
(Royal Institute of International Affairs, London)
17 January 2018
1-2:30 pm. Details here.
Reform Club
18 January 
Invitation only. 
14 December 2017
Mercator Institute for Chinese Studies, Berlin 
Details here.
ThinkIn China Beijing
5 December  2017
Event report and pictures here.
Singapore Writers Festival
11 November 2017
5-6 pm "Media: Friend or Foe?"
8:30-9:15 pm "China Soul-Searching"
12 November 2017
2:30-3:30 "Turning to Faith" 
Details for all events here.
Hong Kong University
6 November 2017
Details here.
Hong Kong Baptist University
6 November 2017
Details here.

Hong Kong Literary Festival
4 November 2017
11 am to 12 noon, Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences
"The Souls of China."
Details here
5 November 
13:30-14:30, Hong Kong Museum of Medical Science
hosting Zhang Lijia talk about her new novel, "Lotus."
Details here.
National Committee for U.S.-China Relations
26 October 2017
"The Souls of China"
New York City.
Details here.
Yale University
23 October 2017
"The Battle for China's Soul"
Luce Hall Auditorium, 4:30 pm
Details here.
University of Virginia, Charlottesville
19 October
"China's Religious Revival"
East Asia Center, 5 pm. 
Details here.
Young China Watchers
18 October 2017
Discussion of faith, values and the Communist Party's once-every-five-year meeting.
New York City.
Details here.
Columbia University 
18 October 2017
Discussion on "Souls of China," moderated by Andrew Nathan. 
Weatherhead East Asian Institute, 12 noon to 1:30 pm
Details here.
University of South Florida
16 October 2017
Centro Asturiano,
1913 Nebraska Avenue, Tampa
Details here.
Council on Foreign Relations
24 May 2017
Panel discussion with Elizabeth Economy, Andrew Nathan, and Yang Fenggang as part of CFR's Religion and Foreign Policy Workshop
Watch the video here.
Foreign Correspondents Club of China
18 May 2017
Details here.
Beijing International Society.
18 May 2017
Details here.
Duke Kunshan campus
16 May 2017
Details here.
Shanghai Foreign Correspondents Club
15 May 2017 
Details here.
University of Notre Dame
27 April 2017
Talk on China's religious revival.
View on YouTube here
Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University
19 April 2017
Talk on China's religious revival.
View on YouTube here.
Center for Strategic and International Studies
18 April 2017
"The political uses of religion in China."
Watch the video by clicking here.
The Bookworm
8 March 2017
Conversation with Jeffrey Wasserstrom of UC Irvine to talk about his new Penguin book: Eight Juxtapositions.
Details here
Sinica Podcast
29 December 2016
"Ian Johnson on the Vatican and China:" 45-minute Q&A on the SupChina Sinica podcast about Catholicism in China, chances for a rapprochement between the two states, and recommended readings.
Click here to listen and to read a description.
National Library of Singapore
2 November 2016
"China's Religious Renaissance:" A 90-minute talk and discussion about China's religious revival, hosted by Kenneth Dean of the National University of Singapore and Francis Lim of Nanyang Technological University as the discussant.
Some photos are online here.
Princeton University
22-24 October 2016
"How and Why Chinese Language Learning is Useful in Careers:" This obvious-sounding workshop (agenda here, including downloads of many of the papers) actually turned into a profound and lively discussion about how we engage with other cultures. I gave a talk--a "new manifesto" for foreign reporting that (I hope) will emphasize more language and culturally savvy reporters. The proceedings might be published in the coming year or two.
Beijing Capital Normal University
24 September 2016
"Non-fiction in China:" Part of a panel discussion with writers and academics about the future of long-form non-fiction in China. Click here for a link to an article in Chinese about some comments I made. 
Fieldstead Company, Irvine, CA
19 August 2016
"Christianity in China:" A talk at Fieldstead Company, the private charity run by the Ahmanson family of Los Angeles, at its "Perspectives on China" conference. Click here for details
Freie Universität Berlin
7 July 2016

"China's Religious Revival:" A talk at the East Asian Seminar on why religion is growing in China and the implications for society and politics. Details here

The Beijing Center
28 May and 5 June 2016
Talk to undergraduates from NYU and Universität Antwerpen on China's search for values.

Colgate University
23 May 2016
Talk to visiting students putting together a video project on religion on China, especially the Miaofengshan pilgrimage and Sydney Gamble's 1920s films.

NYRB China Conference
16 January 2016
A talk in Hong Kong at the New York Review of Books' conference on "The Governance of China."

Selected Earlier Talks
Sinica Podcast
7 June 2015  
"How to write about China:" Appearance on one of the most popular China podcasts, "Sinica," with regular hosts Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn, and David Moser. They interview me on a recent article I did in the New York Review of Books on journalism in China. 
Listen to the podcast here
The Beijing Bookworm
20 May 2015
"From Beijing to Berlin:" Public talk and discussion with Timothy Garton Ash on how 1989 played out in China and Europe, and its implications today. 
Listen to the podcast here.  
InterFaith Radio
26 March 2015
Radio discussion with Rebecca Nedostup of Brown University on China's religious boom, the country's spiritual vacuum, and the rise of indigenous religions, as well as Christianity.
"On Point" 
4 November 2014
Appearance on Tom Ashbrook's On Point, with University of Chicago's Dali Yang and Duke's Kang Liu on why Xi Jinping has embraced a nationalist blogger.
High school, university talks in Chicago, St. Louis
27-31 October 2014
Talks in Chicago- and St. Louis-area high schools and at the U Chicago and U Missouri-St. Louis as part of the Pulitzer Center's public education program. No recordings available but links herehere, and here.
The Asia Society
How Stable is China?
Sinica podcast
China's territorial claims
Hudson Institute
A speech given at the Hudson Institute's Center on Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World about my book A Mosque in Munich
Carnegie Council
A talk on A Mosque in Munich 
View Video

New America Foundation 
NPR's "Fresh Air" a discussion on my first book, Wild Grass