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Keynote Prasenjit Duara (History, Durham)

Revisiting the Chinese World Order: Soft Power of the Imperalism 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 calledthe imperialism of nation-stateswhich 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 ofsoft power. ‘ While soft power is an inadequate concept, it suggests a new balance between expressions of violent power and other modes of domination. I will examine the extent to which this notionwhich is popular in the Chinese media-- has any purchase in understanding the rise of China.