The History-Informed IR Study on the Resurgence of China

  • Yu-Shan Wu
Chapter

Abstract

There is a paradigmatic gulf between History and IR studies, and yet both are needed for a full understanding of the resurgence of China, the most significant development in international relations since the late twentieth century. This chapter surveys the literature of History-informed International Relations Studies (HIRS) on China. This is the corpus of international relations theories that deals with historical subjects related to China and its neighbors. The core question is: “How much of China’s external behavior is influenced by its unique culture?” Based on a position over the question, four groups of thoughts in the literature are identified. They are Western generalists, Chinese culturalists, the Chinese School, and the Taiwan School. They are positioned along two axes: temporal-specificity vs. trans-temporality, and territorial-specificity vs. trans-territoriality. The four groups of thoughts are then critically reviewed. Finally, the limits and future agenda of HIRS on China are discussed. It is suggested that the corpus of theories in the generalists and culturalists camps be carefully identified, the measurement problem be dealt with in determining relative explanatory capacity, the linkage between history and the present be proven, perspectives and strategies of China’s neighbors be studied, and different systems of asymmetrical power relations be compared.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yu-Shan Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Political ScienceAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan

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