Racialized International Order and the Rise of China: Evidence from Germany’s Public Discourse

Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 4:30 pm
A71 Simpson International Building
Free and Open to the Public
Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China

Drawing inspiration from Said’s work on Orientalism and Gramsci’s conceptualization of hegemony, this paper explores how racial prejudice in the West forms at least part of the ideational foundation in how the rise of China has been perceived, and how such racial prejudices to some extent inflate people’s threat perception, and hinders acceptance of any future Chinese hegemony. The paper focuses on the leading European power, Germany, and provide a discourse analysis of the contemporary German popular media’s portrayal of China and China’s rise and how the vestiges of racial prejudice continue to define the German public’s view of China. We choose to focus on an analysis of what we claim is a small yet representative sample of mainstream media and expert literature in Germany, so as to discern how “the rise of China” is discussed in the German public sphere and the persistence of the “Yellow Peril” trope. The paper argues that as a non-Western non-White nation, China would face additional hurdles from being accepted as a hegemon for the international system.

Dr. Enze Han is an Associate Professor at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong. He received a Ph.D in Political Science from the George Washington University in the United States in 2010, and he later was a postdoctoral research fellow in the China and the World Program at Princeton University. During 2015-2016, he was a Friends Founders' Circle Member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, USA. Previously Dr. Han was Senior Lecturer in the International Security of East Asia at SOAS, University of London, United Kingdom.

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