Asia Program


China: The Pessoptimist Nation

March 29, 2010 // 4:00pm5:15pm

William A. Callahan, Professor of International Politics, University of Manchester; Co-director, British Inter-university China Centre

William A. Callahan is professor of international politics and China studies at the University of Manchester, and co-director of the British Inter-University China Centre at Oxford University. His recent publications include Cultural Governance and Resistance in Pacific Asia (2006) and Contingent States: Greater China and Transnational Relations (2004). In 2007-2008, he was a resident fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The rise of China presents a long-term challenge to the world not only economically, but politically and culturally. In the course of introducing his new book, China: The Pessoptimist Nation (Oxford University Press, 2009), William A. Callahan will discuss this challenge by using new Chinese sources and innovative analysis to see how Chinese people understand their new place in the world. Callahan contends that the heart of Chinese foreign policy is not a security dilemma, but an identity dilemma. Chinese identity emerges through the interplay of positive and negative feelings: China thus is a pessoptimist nation. This positive-negative dynamic intertwines China's domestic and international politics because national security is closely linked to nationalist insecurities.

This event will take place on the 5th floor conference room.

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