Skip over navigation

News · 新闻

Exploring a Dynamic Theory of International Politics by Bringing China In

On 22 February 2007, Victoria Hui, Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Notre Dame, presented her award-winning work comparing the development of the ancient Chinese states system with the early modern European states system at the China & the World Speaker Series. Entitled "Toward a Dynamic Theory of International Politics: Insights from Comparing Ancient China and Early Modern Europe," the talk revisited commonly-held realist conceptions about the balance of power in international systems. Dr. Hui argued that in face of changing structural challenges facing the states during the Spring and Autumn as well as the Warring States periods in ancient China, states found balancing particularly difficult. As such, the state of Qin could eventually dominate and eventually take over the entire system through a combination of self-strengthening reforms and ruthless stratagems. In contrast, structural conditions in early modern Europe was more conducive to states employing self-weakening expedients. As a result, no single early modern European state could dominate the system, and a structure of checks and balances prevailed. The results of Dr. Hui's results suggest that political unity in China resulted from a confluence of several contingent factors, as was the case of the fragmentary states system that emerged in early modern Europe. The talk was well attended by faculty and students from the Politics, East Asian Studies, and History Departments, as well as the Woodrow Wilson School and Institute for Advanced Study. Prior to her afternoon talk, Dr. Hui conducted a lunchtime workshop on dissertation research for graduate students at Princeton. (Ja Ian Chong)