International Politics Research Seminar

Professor Katherine Morton - "How ambivalent is China about global governance?'

Conventional analysis suggests that shifts in the balance of power will seriously affect our collective ability to address global challenges, yet the specific ways in which emerging powers such as China are likely to define the future trajectory of Global Governance remain unclear. In particular, we still have limited knowledge of China’s active role in seeking to project its own preferences into the governing arena, as well as locate its national interests within a broader global framework. A nascent literature is emerging that suggests China’s acceptance of pre-existing international rules and norms across a range of global issue areas is selective at best, and remains highly circumscribed. Are we, therefore, to assume that China will play a passive role in the future development of global governance? Or is China more likely to seek to shape global governance on its own terms? How ambivalent is China about Global Governance? In this seminar, I shall address current scholarly and policy debates over the question of China’s rising international status within the context of global governance. The analysis will focus upon the interplay between power and international rules, highlighting key motivations behind state action relating to social prestige, material incentives, and political legitimacy. Drawing upon my own research over the past five years, I shall outline some of the dilemmas arising from China’s new active role in Global Governance, especially in relation to the more contentious issues of international intervention, terrorism, and the maritime commons.

Photo of Professor Katherine MortonBiography - Professor Katherine Morton (School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield)

Katherine Morton is a specialist on China’s International Relations with a particular focus on transnational security, global governance, environment and climate change, and international norms. Prior to her appointment at the University of Sheffield she was the Associate Dean for Research at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University and a Senior Fellow in the Department of International Relations, ANU. In the 1990s, she was Deputy Director of the East Asia Programme at the University of Sussex, England, and worked for Matsushita Electric Industrial Corporation Ltd in Osaka, Japan. Her work on China spans two decades covering various aspects of China’s modernisation drive and international engagement. She is the recipient of numerous research grants including two Ford Foundation collaborative grants on Sino-Australia Security Relations and Regional Security Challenges in the New Century. Between 2013-15 she held a Senior Membership to St Antony’s College, University of Oxford and visiting fellowships to Peking University, People’s Republic of China, and Columbia University, United States. She is currently writing a book on the likely impacts of China’s rising international status upon the evolving system of global governance. She speaks Mandarin, French, Italian, and basic Japanese.

Key Details

Where: Room G19, Elmfield Building, Northumberland Road.
When: 4-6 PM, Wednesday 11th May 2016

Hosted by the Department of Politics International Politics Group.

All welcome to attend.


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