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The social sciences have long been heavily influenced by modernisation theory, focusing on issues of economic growth, political development and social change, in order to develop a predictive model of linear progress for developing countries following a Western prototype. Under this hegemonic paradigm of development, the world tends to get divided into simplistic binary oppositions between the ‘West’ and the ‘rest’, ‘us’ and ‘them’ and ‘self’ and ‘other’.

Proposing to shift the discussion on what constitutes the ‘Other’ as opposed to the ‘Self’ from philosophy and cultural studies to the social sciences, this event will explore how the structural asymmetries existing between Western discourses and the realities of the non-Western world manifest themselves in the ideas, institutions and socio-political practices of India and China, and in how far they shape the social scientists' understanding of their discipline in general.

Concepts discussed by the panel will include citizenship, human rights, secularism, socialism, and hegemony. All participants have contributed to the volume Politics of the ‘Other’ in India and China: Western Concepts in non-Western Contexts, edited by Lion König and Bidisha Chaudhuri (Routledge 2016), whose paperback edition will be launched at the event.

The event is chaired by Professor Dibyesh Anand, Head of the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, and will be followed by drinks.

Register to attend by Wednesday 14 June by emailing Ian Blake on [email protected]


  • Malgorzata Jakimów is a Lecturer in Chinese Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield’s School of East Asian Studies. Her most recent publication is 'Resistance through Accommodation: A Citizenship Approach to Migrant Worker NGOs in China', Journal of Contemporary China (forthcoming, November 2017).
  • Yuka Kobayashi is a Lecturer in China and International Relations at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Among her recent publications is ‘India in Climate Change – the view from Japan via China’, in: Kate Sullivan (ed.), Competing Visions of India in World Politics: India's Rise Beyond the West. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, pp. 49-65.
  • Lion König is a DFG-Postdoctoral Research Fellow at St. Antony’s College, the University of Oxford. He is the author of Cultural Citizenship in India: Politics, Power, and Media (OUP, 2016).
  • Astrid Nordin is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Politics, Philosophy, and Religion, Lancaster University. She is a Research Fellow at the Swedish Institute for International Affairs. She has recently authored China’s International Relations and Harmonious World: Time, Space, and Multiplicity in World Politics (Routledge, 2016).
  • Gerda Wielander is Associate Professor in Chinese Studies and Head of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Westminster. She is the author of Christian Values in Communist China (Routledge, 2014) and has just completed an edited volume called Discourses of Chinese Happiness (forthcoming with Hong Kong University Press), which is part of her wider research on happiness targets and education in China’s political project.