Cultural Politics and International Relations

By Chih-yu Shih

Subjects: International Relations, Asian Studies, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Semiotics
Series: SUNY series, James N. Rosenau series in Global Politics
Hardcover : 9781438487717, 358 pages, April 2022
Paperback : 9781438487700, 358 pages, October 2022

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: An Inescapable Agenda of Post-Chineseness

Part I: Decentralizing Chineseness: Relations from the Inside Out

1. Away from China-centrism: Balance of Relationships

2. Into the Iron Brotherhood: Relational Epistemology

3. Up from Subaltern Identities: Strategic Nonessentialism

4. Beyond Fundamentalist Faith: Cultural Nationalism

Part II: Strategizing Chineseness: Relations from the Outside In

5. Cultural Self Rebalanced: The Vietnamese Practices of Sinology

6. Colonial Cleavages: Japanese Legacies in Taiwan's Views on China

7. Ethnic Role-Making: China Watchers in the Philippines

8. Geopolitical Distancing: Think Tanks in Southern Neighborhood

Part III: Belonging to Chineseness: Relations from the In-between

9. Me Inside and Outside: Performing for Hong Kong and Singapore

10. Sticking My Head Out under the Sky: A Presbyterian for Taiwan Independence

11. China Watch for No One: Relating Taiwan and China in Hong Kong?

12. Post-Western Politics and Mainlandization: Between Colonialism and Liberalism

In Lieu of a Conclusion: Noninternational Relations, Nonidentities

Appendix. Post-Asia and IR Research: A Pervasive Agenda


Analyzes international and cultural relationships informed by "China," a category that is becoming ever more indispensable and yet unstable in everyday narratives.


There have been few efforts to overcome the binary of China versus the West. The recent global political environment, with a deepening confrontation between China and the West, strengthens this binary image. Post-Chineseness boldly challenges the essentialized notion of Chineseness in existing scholarship through the revelation of the multiplicity and complexity of the uses of Chineseness by strategically conceived insiders, outsiders, and those in-between. Combining the fields of international relations, cultural politics, and intellectual history, Chih-yu Shih investigates how the global audience perceives (and essentializes) Chineseness. Shih engages with major Chinese international relations theories, investigates the works of sinologists in Hong Kong, Singapore, Pakistan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and other academics in East Asia, and explores individual scholars' life stories and academic careers to delineate how Chineseness is constantly negotiated and reproduced. Shih's theory of the "balance of relationships" expands the concept of Chineseness and effectively challenges existing theories of realism, liberalism, and conventional constructivism in international relations. The highly original delineation of multiple layers and diverse dimensions of "Chineseness" opens an intellectual channel between the social sciences and humanities in China studies.

Chih-yu Shih is National Chair Professor of the Ministry of Education and University Chair Professor of Political Science at National Taiwan University. He is the author and editor of many books, including coeditor of Colonial Legacies and Contemporary Studies of China and Chineseness: Unlearning Binaries, Strategizing Self.


"This is a fascinating and unique book, offering deep insight into Chinese culture, history, religion, philosophy, nationalism, politics, and foreign relations." — CHOICE

"This book is suggesting an original theoretical framework that deconstructs (not just theoretically but empirically) Chineseness that is often reified in the binary image of China versus the other. It shows the fluidity and multiplicity of Chineseness not only in cultural and discursive realms but in policies and real politics." — Jungmin Seo, Yonsei University