Panel 17 (Rothenbücher)

Criteria for a sustainable international order

Panel organizer

Christoph Rothenbücher, MA (Universität Rostock)



Panel abstract

Intrepid hunters in the jungle of IR have been tirelessly pursuing the unicorn of China’s grand strategy for decades. An ongoing quest to capture the exotic, esoteric essence of China, to finally master it intellectually, bring it into the fold of international order, or at least contain it. The intention to understand, compare and explain China is still present as a faint echo of epistemological domination.

The discourse about China’s rise and the yellow peril has been repeating itself in a thirty year cycle for nearly two centuries. Will international scholarship this time be able to develop ideas about a world order, which includes China or will we remain chained by the clash of civilizations mind set? The simplification and regression of much of Anglophone IR towards a consensus around the new Cold War takes place in stark contrast to an ever complicating picture in international politics. An increasingly asymmetric Chinese relationship to Russia, the pandemic, Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as well as Xi Jinping’s future after the 20th CCP congress proof that much is in motion for China and East Asia in the coming years. Feminist and Queer International Relations Theory introduced sociological, embodied, fragmented and relational ideas into the study of IR, which are needed urgently to come to grips with Beijing’s sometimes seemingly contradictory, unintelligible behavior. Chinese political philosophy has been molded and shaped by close intercourse with the English School of International Relations. While the English School has developed itself further along the line of relational, sociological epistemologies. In another development, Chinese scholars appear to proudly resurrect the IR branch of idealism with a confidence not seen since before Hans Morgenthau.

What contributions can the DGA provide in this debate? The many advantages of European IR studies provide an essential element for the further development for the discipline in the next decade. Awareness for historical backgrounds, qualitative contextualizations, theoretical depth, interdisciplinarity and transnationality in academia all are strengths of a Europe that is destined to be the rationalist voice between idealistic Chinese IR and realist US American scholarship.

This panel provides a platform for all the voices discontent with revenant Cold War narratives, Trade War editorials, requiems for international institutions or monolithic views of China. Papers for this panel might inquire about the following issues:

  • Which ideas of international order avoid the essentialization of culture, be it “Western”, “Eastern”, “Confucian” or “liberal”?
  • Which ideas of international order treat East Asian contributions with equal validity as Western theorists?
  • How can scholarship describe and analyze behavior without giving in to a undifferentiated “explain China” attitude?

Paper submission

If you want to participate in this panel, please submit your paper proposal here.

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