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Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies

 Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies

Welcome to the website of the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies at Durham University. Founded in 1999 CCCS is a multi-disciplinary research centre dedicated to the study of contemporary China and the wider East Asian region, specialising particularly in the fields of Business, Education, Law, Modern Languages and Culture, Geography, Government and International Politics and Political Economy. The Centre gains greatly from having one of the most significant collections on China and East Asia in the UK in Durham University Library. The Centre is strongly committed to collaborative research with our partners in China, including the training of new generations of specialists on the East Asian region. Details of present and past activities are given on these pages, as well as an introduction to the opportunities for training and research on China and East Asia available at Durham University.


East Asia: An International Quarterly has been edited in the School of Government and International Affairs since 2004. It has more than 34 years of history and is currently published by Springer.

Volume 35, Issue 1 (March 2018)

News and Events

24 April 2018

Public Lecture

Speaker: Dr Astrid Nordin (Lancaster University)

Topic: China’s International Relations and Harmonious World: Time, Apace and Multiplicity in World Politics (Book launch)

Date: 24 April 2018 (Tuesday)

Venue: Room 201, Al-Qasimi Building

Time: 5:15-6:30 pm


‘As scholars and publics look for alternatives to what is understood as a violent Western world order, many claim that China can provide such an alternative through the Chinese dream of a harmonious world. This book takes this claim seriously and examines its effects by tracing the notion across several contexts: the policy documents and speeches that launched harmony as an official term under previous president Hu Jintao; the academic literatures that asked what a harmonious world might look like; the propaganda and mega events that aimed to illustrate it; the online spoofing culture that is used to criticise and avoid "harmonization"; and the incorporation of harmony into current president Xi Jinping's "Chinese dream".

This book finds contemporary Chinese society and international relations saturated with harmony. Yet, rather than offering an alternative to problems in "Western" thought, it counter-intuitively argues that harmony has not taken place, is not taking place, and will not take place. The argument unfolds as a contribution to wider debates on time, space and multiplicity in world politics. Offering analysis of the important but understudied concept of harmony, Nordin provides new and creative insights into wider contemporary issues in Chinese politics, society and scholarship.

The book also suggests a creative and novel methodology for studying foreign policy concepts more broadly, drawing on critical thinkers in innovative ways and in a new empirical context. It will be of interest to students and scholars of IR, Chinese foreign and security policy and IR theory.’


Astrid H. M. Nordin is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, Associate Director of the Institute of Social Futures, and a research fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. Her research engages critical theories of global politics, with a special focus on Chinese political thought and cultural governance. She has recently published articles on these topics in journals such as Review of International Studies, Millennium, Alternatives and China Information, and the monograph China’s International Relations and Harmonious World: Time, space and multiplicity in World Politics with Routledge. She has worked and studied in China for several years, including at Peking University, Jilin University, Hong Kong University, and City University Hong Kong.