Shellen Wu, assistant professor of history, has received a Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship for a project titled “Geography and the Fate of Chinese Civilization: the Rise of Geopolitical Discourse in Twentieth Century China.”
This project traces the historical roots of geopolitical discourse in China. Although the connection between politics and geography was by no means a new phenomenon either in the West or in China, two new factors came into play in the twentieth century. First, the wide-ranging influence of social Darwinism extended biological metaphors to territorial conceptualization. Second, decades of political crisis and domestic strife followed by foreign invasion radicalized Chinese intellectuals and scientists and gave credence to the idea of states engaged in a battle for survival and access to natural resources.