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Conceptions of World Order and Their Social Carrier Groups

Conceptions of World Order and Their Social Carrier Groups

Conceptions of World Order and Their Social Carrier Groups
Image Credit: Jannis Schulze

The project “Conceptions of World Order and Their Social Carrier Groups” explores transformations of conceptions of world order from the late nineteenth century to the present. Our researchers explore various patterns and rhythms of world order-related thinking (particularly in relation to China) in different parts of the world. In this context, the project not only analyzes images of global political and economic power formations but also includes into the picture other factors like cultural hegemonies or global social and religious movements.

In the English language, the concept of “world order” primarily refers to basic (sometimes even institutionalized) facets of global political and economic power formations. It is often used interchangeably with concepts such as “global order” or even “international order”. Among other currents, social movements (including NGOs) are increasingly identified as crucial aspects of world order; moreover, many scholars are interested in the importance of global soft power including cultural hegemonies. Others pay attention to the significance of religiously inspired ideals in shaping imageries on world order. Visions of the world certainly have the potential to include such complexities into the bigger picture, but at the same time they need to offer a relatively clear image of a global situation. Hence visions of world order are at least partially abstractions of global power relations. There is a strong tendency to exaggerate specific facets of international power and worldwide interactions when presenting them as patterns of worldwide order. It hence would be naïve to view visions of world order merely as reflections of global realities; they simultaneously represent imagined worlds.

Our research related to this project focuses on visions of world order among various social carrier groups. Within this framework, we study themes that are highly relevant for the present while at the same time paying due attention to complex historical configurations. In various case studies, we explore how particular visions of world order have been shaped by their specific contexts and concrete circumstances. Furthermore, we probe into selected visions of world order in different parts of the world (e.g. China and Europe) and partly compare them to one another and partly search for entanglements and connections. In what ways have the changing patterns and rhythms of ideas about world order been connected with one another across regions and continents? Under what circumstances did particular social carrier groups primarily identify with their own local or national environments? And under what circumstances did ideas of shared transnational interest prevail in debates on world order?

Activities of this project: Talks, Lectures, Presentations, Workshops, Interviews

Presentation „China in Latin America – Some Observations“ by Benjamin Creutzfeldt

On December 21, 2021, as part of an online lecture at the University of Göttingen, Dr. Benjamin Creutzfeldt, fellow in the project "Conceptions of World Order and Their Carrier Groups," provided insights into his field of research on China's relations with Latin America.

Workshop "Africa in Shifting Global Contexts: The Roles of China and the EU"

As part of the workshop "Africa in Shifting Global Contexts: The Roles of China and the EU" held on December 14-15, 2021, national and international scholars discussed the roles of China and the EU for the African continent.

Digital Dialogues #4 "India-China Connections from Subaltern Perspectives"

The history of India-China connections has long been explored from elite perspectives, while few have ever paid attention to how ordinary Indians and Chinese interacted and how their lives were connected. As part of the Digital Workshop Series" of the Joint Center, Cao Yin, associate professor at the Tsinghua University, presented cases from the first half of the twentieth century, including the experiences of Sikh policemen in Shanghai during the Interwar Period and Chinese deserter in India during the Second World War.

Book Talk "Borderland Infrastructures: Trade, Development, and Control in Western China" by Alessandro Rippa

On December 7, 2021, the project "Conceptions of World Order and Their Social Carrier Groups" hosted a book talk by Alessandro Rippa from the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Rippa presented his findings from his recently published book "Borderland Infrastructures: Trade, Development, and Control in Western China".

Digital Dialogues #2 "Global Visions of Place and Belonging: Sojourners from China and the Arab World"

As part of the Digital Workshop Series "Digital Dialogues" of the Joint Center, Dr. Mohammed Al-Sudairi and Dr. Janice Hyeju Jeong discussed sojourners who traversed between China and the Arab world at pivotal moments in the twentieth century. The speakers highlighted the tensions between the romanticized imaginaries and realities, and the projection of the writers' societal circumstances onto their conceptualizations.

Guest Lecture "The Inter-State Order of Post-Tang East Asia" by Nicolas Tackett (Berkeley)

Whereas a few decades ago the pre-20th-century "Chinese world order" was typically treated as unchanging across the vast span of the impirial period, this lecture by Nicolas Tackett was based on the consideration that interstate systems evolve significantly over time. Against this backdrop, Nicolas Tackett, professor of history at U.C. Berkeley, illuminates the fall of the Tang dynasty as a pivotal moment that ushered in a very different East Asian world order.

Conceptualizing Planetary Humanities - A Public Panel

This public panel was part of a workshop hosted by Bo Strath, John Noyes & Dominic Sachsenmaier. It discussed some of the major themes, contours, contexts, interventions, challenges, or potential pitfalls of the humanities understood as a planetary endeavor. The two panels (about one hour each) have been broadcast on youtube livestream.

Guest Lecture "Nationalism and the Crisis of Modernity" by Prasenjit Duara

On June 3, 2021, hosted by the University of Göttingen, Prasenjit Duara gave a guest lecture on "Nationalism and the Crisis of Modernity." Prasenjit Duara is the Oscar Tang Chair of East Asian Studies at Duke University. He argues that the nation form is the ‘epistemic engine’ driving the globally circulatory and doxic Enlightenment ideal of the conquest of nature and perpetual growth that sustains the runaway technosphere.

Presentation "Circulations and Convergences: Mecca in the Conceptions and Mobilities of Chinese Muslim Diasporas in Saudi Arabia" by Dr. Janice Hyeju Jeong

On May 17, 2021, Dr. Janice Hyeju Jeong delivered a digital lecture on "Circulations and Convergences: Mecca in the Conceptions and Mobilities of Chinese Muslim Diasporas in Saudi Arabia" at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HKIHSS), the University of Hong Kong. An article relating to the lecture and an interview with Janice Jeong appeared in "The Diplomat" in July 2021.