Seminar 12. Odd Arne Westad: “The Sources of Chinese Conduct”
On Wednesday, 27 May 2020, the International Laboratory on World Order Studies and Department of International Relations and the New Regionalism of the National Research University Higher School of Economics held a joint session of Eurasian Online Seminar and China Seminar. Our speaker was a world-renowned historian and foreign policy expert Professor Odd Arne Westad. The topic of his talk is "The Sources of Chinese Conduct".
Professor Westad specializes in the Cold War and contemporary East Asian history. He is the Elihu Professor of History and Global Affairs at Yale University, where he teaches in the Yale History Department and in the Jackson Institute of Global Affairs. Previously, he held the S.T. Lee Chair of US-Asia Relations at Harvard University, teaching in the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Westad has also taught at London School of Economics, where he served as director of a foreign policy think tank LSE IDEAS. In the spring semester 2019 Westad was Boeing Company Chair in International Relations at Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University. He is also a Fellow of the British Academy.
Originally from Ålesund on the Norwegian coast, he studied history, philosophy, and modern languages in Oslo before doing a graduate degree in US/international history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Westad has published 16 books, most of which deal with twentieth century Asian and global history. His three key works include The Global Cold War, which argues for ways of understanding the Soviet-American conflict in light of late- and post-colonial change in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean; Restless Empire, which discusses broad trends in China’s international history since 1750; and The Cold War: A World History, which summarizes the origins, conduct, and results of the conflict on a global scale.
Professor Westad published an article “The Sources of Chinese Conduct: Are Washington and Beijing Fighting a New Cold War?” in the September/October 2019 issue of Foreign Affairs. The title is an obvious allusion to George Kennan’s article “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” based on his famous “Long Telegram,” which was published in the same journal in 1947. Kennan’s thoughts had a great impact on the US policy during the Cold War, although Prof Westad seems to argue that Kennan was not understood well enough. Will Americans understand Prof Westad and China this time and are we looking into a new Cold War?
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