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Workshop to focus on China’s foreign policy

From territorial disputes in the South China Sea to the performance of China’s economy to the erratic behavior of neighboring North Korea, says Yinan He, there are many reasons for the rest of the world to pay attention to China and its influence.

Indeed, says He, an associate professor of international relations, China generates so much news that the demand for knowledge and understanding of the world’s most populous nation often exceeds the supply of people who are qualified to provide it.

In an effort to offer perspective on current events involving China, Lehigh this week is hosting an International Workshop on China and the World. Thirty scholars of China and its foreign policy will take part in the workshop on Thursday afternoon (March 3) and in private discussions on Friday (March 4).

The public workshop will begin with a noon lunch in Room 308 of the University Center. Those wishing to attend the event should register at

The event is being sponsored by the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program (CWP) and by Lehigh’s department of international relations.

The CWP, which is overseen by Princeton and Harvard Universities and housed at Princeton, offers three or four post-doctoral fellowships each year to help students integrate knowledge of the international relations discipline with knowledge of China. It is one of the most prestigious research programs of its kind in the country, says He, a former CWP post-doctoral fellow.

The CWP has hosted a China-themed workshop at Harvard almost every year over the past decade, says He. This year’s event is the first to be held at a different university.

The workshop will open with remarks by Donald Hall, the Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean of Lehigh’s College of Arts and Sciences, and by CWP’s two directors—Thomas J. Christensen and Alastair Iain Johnston.

Christensen, the William P. Boswell Professor of World Politics of Peace and War at Princeton, served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2006 to 2008. Johnston, the Governor James Noe and Linda Noe Laine Professor of China in World Affairs at Harvard, is the author of Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History and Social States: China in International Institutions, 1980-2000.

The remaining scholars, says He, are high regarded in their fields and widely published. Some are alumni of the CWP post-doctoral fellowship program.

Sessions at the workshop include the following:

“Chinese Military Maritime and Aerospace Development,” features Andrew S. Erickson, cofounder of, and professor of strategy in, the China Maritime Studies Institute  of the U.S. Naval War College. The session will be moderated by Arman Grigoryan, assistant professor of international relations at Lehigh, whose areas of expertise include international security and ethnic conflict.

“Authoritarian Audiences in International Crises: Evidence from China,” features Jessica Chen Weiss, associate professor of government at Cornell University and author of the book Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China’s Foreign Relations. The session will be moderated by Constance Cook, professor of Chinese in Lehigh’s department of modern languages and literatures and an expert in the excavated texts from ancient China.

“The China Challenge,” a roundtable discussion, features Christensen, whose most recent book, The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power, was published last year. The discussion will be moderated by Chaim Kaufmann, associate professor of international relations and an expert in international relations theory and international conflict. Roundtable participants include He and the following:

•    Patricia Kim, a Princeton Ph.D. candidate and a research fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs;
•    Vera Fennell, associate professor of political science and of Africana Studies at Lehigh and an expert in comparative politics and globalization;
•    Xiaojun Li, professor of political science at the University of British Columbia and an expert on China’s political economy.

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The International Workshop on China and the World will be held in Room 308 of the University Center beginning at noon on Thursday, March 3.

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