Research Projects

Current research projects

1) British Inter-university China Centre (BICC), an international centre of excellence hosted at Oxford University that links the universities of Manchester, Bristol and Oxford in a five year Economic and Social Research Foundation-funded research centre (2006-2011). Callahan is Co-Director of this 5 million pound grant that funds joint research projects, international conferences, 10 postgraduate studentships, and two postdoctoral positions at the University of Manchester. Callahan’s recent BICC activities include organizing The Global Politics of China international conference, 27-29 November 2009.

2) China’s Futures – and the World’s Future is funded by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship; it explores how China’s rise is impacting the world in terms of normative soft power. While China’s official policy is to peacefully rise as a responsible power, China’s Futures analyses how other voices in China are pushing Beijing to challenge the current international system. The research project explores how Chinese scholars, policy-makers and public intellectuals are appealing to indigenous Chinese ideals to lay the conceptual groundwork for a post-Western world order. The impact of Chinese concepts is reaching far beyond issues of East Asian IR to influence broader debates about security and global governance in the West as well. China’s Futures thus explores how China’s rise poses a series of theoretical and policy challenges to the current international system.

The main result of this project will be a single-authored monograph, New World Orders: Chinese Views of the 21st Century.

Other publications include:

WA Callahan, (2009) ‘Patriotic Cosmopolitanism: China’s Nonofficial Intellectuals Dream of the Future’, BICC working paper no. 13, October.

WA Callahan, (2008) ‘Chinese visions of world order’, International Studies Review 10: 749-61.

WA Callahan (2004) ‘Remembering the Future: Utopia, Empire and Harmony in 21st Century International Theory’, European Journal of International Relations 10(4): 569-601.

3) China Orders the World? Soft Power, Norms and Foreign Policy is a BICC-funded activity that examines the issues of China’s growing “normative soft power” through a detailed and nuanced analysis of Chinese ideas of world order. It examines how Chinese leaders now use a Confucian vocabulary to talk about foreign policy, and how Chinese scholars are appealing to traditional Chinese culture to promote a ‘Chinese style’ of world order as China’s contribution to IR theory and post-Western world order. Dr. Elena Barabantseva and I co-edited this book, which has been accepted for publication by the Woodrow Wilson Center Press and will be co-published by Stanford University Press in mid-2011. The final revised manuscript was delivered in September 2010. This book informs the larger research project “New World Orders.”

4) Environmental Problems and Asian Solutions

Global warming is becoming a major security issue. This research project examines US-China relations in terms of the international politics of environmentalism. China and the US are the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, and the project will examine 1) how China and the US are cooperating on the world stage to address this global issue (or not), 2) how environmental degradation is framed both in terms of the traditional security issue of state sovereignty, and the nontraditional security issues of economic development, social stability, and global civil society, and 3) how solutions to the growing environmental crisis look to distinct (and perhaps conflicting) ideas of nature and international politics. I am currently working on the third question, to compare how the US and China each idealize nature in classical gardens and national parks. I am still in the early stages of this project, and will concentrate on it after the completion of “New World Orders” in 2011-12.