Politics, Culture and Responsible Scholarship in China Today

Professor Yongjin Zhang (University of Bristol)

WUN Contemporary China Center Virtual Seminar

19.Mar.2009 16.00 - 17.00
LT16, Roger Stevens Building - Leeds


The relationship between knowledge and power has always been acutely problematic. The role and function of intellectuals and how the intellectual confronts the question of power have been perennially debated. In this lecture, I examine this problematic relationship in the context of flourishing International Relations (IR) scholarship in China. I suggest that the expanding political space and the weakness of critical scholarship in China, combined with a historically induced intellectual predicament and inherited cultural heritage constitute a useful analytical framework for making sense of Chinese understandings of scholarly responsibility. This analytical framework, I also suggest, helps understand the perpetual agony of Chinese intellectuals in coming to terms with the turbulent relations between knowledge and power in China today.


Dr Yongjin Zhang is Professor of East Asian Studies and Director of Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Bristol in Britain. He has previously held teaching and research posts at Oxford University, Australian National University, the University of Auckland and the Institute of International Politics in Beijing. Professor Zhang has published in such prestigious journals as Review of International Studies, European Journal of International Relations, The China Journal and Journal of Contemporary China. His most recent publications include ‘China and the Emerging Regional Order in the South Pacific' in Australian Journal of International Affairs (2007); ‘Politics, Culture and Responsible Scholarship in China-Towards a Culturally Sensitive Analytical Framework' in Asian Perspective (2007); ‘Discourses of Security in China-Towards a Critical Turn?' in Anthony Burke and Matt MacDonald, Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific (Manchester University Press, 2007); and ‘Understanding Chinese Views of the Emerging Global Order' in Wang Gungwu and Zheng Yongnian, China and the New International Order (Routledge, 2008).

General information on WUN seminars at Leeds can be found at http://www.leeds.ac.uk/international/wun/wun_seminars.html

All welcome!