2019 Keynote Speaker

Prasenjit Duara
Oscar Tang Professor of East Asian Studies
Duke University

Dr. Prasenjit Duara is the President of the American Association of Asian Studies. He received his PhD in Chinese history from Harvard University. He was Professor and chair of History and East Asian Studies at University of Chicago (1991-2008) and the Raffles Professor and Director of the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore (2008-2015). His latest book is The Crisis of Global Modernity: Asian Traditions and a Sustainable Future (Cambridge 2014). He was awarded the doctor philosophiae honoris causafrom the University of Oslo in 2017

Keynote Speech

Revisiting the Chinese World Order: Soft Power or the Imperialism of Nation-states”

There are unexpected convergences between the imperial Chinese order and the emergent global order. The historical evolution of forms of global domination since the end of the 19th century saw modern imperialism succeeded by what I have called ‘the imperialism of nation-states’ which  represented the principal form of domination among states during much of the 20th century and in some form also through the Cold War. Despite continued warfare conducted by the US and other states, post-Cold War geopolitical dominance is said to be shaped by the pull of ‘soft power.’ While soft power is an inadequate concept, it suggests a new balance between expressions of violent power and other modes of domination, including debt. I will examine the extent to which this notion—which is popular in the Chinese media — has any purchase in understanding the rise of China.