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BCCN Talk: Overseas Development, Foreign Areas and Chinese 'World-Writing'

20.07.2023 | 14:00 - 15:30


Prof. Dr. Han Cheng 


20 July, 2023, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (CEST)


Abstract: The recent two-decade-long march of 'Global China' has left sweeping (but variegated) footprints in many parts of the world. Accompanying this is the increasing interest among Chinese political and intellectual elites in constructing a globally oriented knowledge base. In his talk, Han Cheng will discuss the coeval (re)emergence of China's international development studies and foreign area studies in light of the sociospatial reconfiguration of China's overseas connectivity. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, he examines this nascent phenomenon of Chinese 'world-writing' and develops a critical geography of individuals, institutions and ideologies that have shaped the spatially and politically situated processes of knowledge production. By tracing the genealogy of the still loose but consolidating state-disciplinary apparatus, he makes visible the unfolding of a division of social scientific labour at a complicated moment of geopolitical flux. It is argued that 'Global China' should be understood not only as an economic and geopolitical force, but as a critical intellectual project.


About the speaker: Prof. Dr. Han Cheng is a Max Weber Foundation Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, and an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He received his PhD in Geography from the University of Cambridge, and was previously a visiting scholar at Yale University's MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. He is currently a Visiting Fellow of the Lise Meitner Research Group 'China in the Global System of Science' of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.