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Debating Capitalisms in Asia

Alexander L.Q. Chen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Anil Shah, Universität Kassel, Germany
Moderator: Xiao Alvin Yang, Universität Kassel, Germany/York University, Canada
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This event is co-presented by International Center for Development and Decent Work, University of Kassel
In a comparative spirit, Alexander Chen and Anil Shah will present the variegated approach to Chinese capitalism and the postcolonial approach to Indian capitalism respectively.
Chen theorizes capitalism as a historically and geographically contingent system that must be analyzed through a relational and processual lens. He posits that capitalism is a polymorphic system in which the logic of uneven development is structurally inscribed. More specifically, he argues that China’s current efforts to rebalance its institutional geography (during its so-called ‘new normal’) can be analyzed as a transitional process towards post-industrial development.
Inspired by Marxist, feminist and post-colonial approaches, Shah will intervene in the bourgeoning literature on financialization by illustrating how exclusively contextualising the ascendency of finance in the world economy in the neoliberal era conceals the colonial roots and legacies of capitalist debt-relations, particularly in reference to subaltern working classes. Through a historical materialist analysis of different “regimes of re/productive finance” in the past 200 years in South Asia, this research helps to understand the relation between the productivity of global financial accumulation and geographically as well as temporarily specific reproductive necessities.
More about our Debaters and Moderator:
Alexander L.Q. Chen is a doctoral fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen and the Sino-Danish Center for Education and Research. His research examines how China’s transition towards a post-industrial society engenders new patterns of socio-spatial differentiation and exclusion with a focus on the changing rural-urban relations, coastal-inland relations, and the reconfiguration of urban spaces. His works have appeared in Kinabladet, Acta Sociologica, Global Udvikling, Forlaget Columbus, and Territory, Politics, Governance.
Anil Shah is a Research Associate in the Department of Politics of the University of Kassel, Germany and the Chair for Development and Postcolonial Studies. His doctoral research investigates the political economy of chronic indebtedness of subaltern working classes in India in the context of financialized capitalism. Marxist, feminist and post-colonial approaches inspire his works, which have appeared in the Journal of Development Studies/ Journal für Entwicklungspolitik, Berliner Zeitschrift für Sozialwissenschaft, and Global Labour Journal as well as been published by München: Oekom and Marburg: Metropolis Verlag.
Xiao Alvin Yang is currently a PhD candidate in Political and Economic Science at Universität Kassel, Germany and a visiting research fellow at York Centre for Asian Research, Canada. His dissertation aims to theorize the current (changing) global order and global political economy where there are on-going tensions among globalization, regional integration and the resurgence of nationalism. His works have appeared in a number of peer-reviewed journals both in English and Chinese, such as The Journal of China and International Relations, The China Journal, The Journal of Chinese Political Science, The Journal of Chinese Governance, Routledge (edited book), World Economics and Politics (Chinese) and The Journal of International Relations (Chinese).

The Theoretical Debates on Asia series brings together young scholars from around the world to engage in theoretical debates on the emerging Indigenous international relations (IR) theories in Asia and new IR and global political economy (GPE) approaches to studying Asia.
Learn more about the series at:
This is the second event in the series, which will take place during the 2020-21 academic year.
Videos from the first event can be viewed here:



Feb 09 2021


12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Online Event
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