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Will the Belt and Road Initiative Reshape the Global Economy and World Order in the post-COVID-19 World?

Daniel Drache, York University, Canada
Xing Li, Aalborg Universitet, Denmark
Adam T. Kingsmith, Ryerson University/York University, Canada
Chair: Clara Baumann, Max Planck Institute/Universität Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Discussant: Xiao Alvin Yang, Universität Kassel, Germany
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Will the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) reshape the global economy and world order in the coming post-COVID-19 world? Since the launch of the BRI in 2013, then known as the One Belt and One Road, debates have centered around the question of whether the BRI is challenging or complementing the existing global economic order and international order. Different people and institutions have addressed this question from a wide spectrum of competing perspectives, offering diverse opinions and interpretations. The media have also created a variety of competing narratives and depictions of the BRI.
First, they will briefly talk about their recent books on the BRI: One Road, Many Dreams: China’s Bold Plan to Remake the Global Economy (Drache and Kingsmith 2019) and Mapping China’s One Belt One Road Initiative (Li 2018). Afterward, we will probe into and examine the questions and issues of the BRI in various domains, such as infrastructure, finance, energy, sustainability, governance and soft power. In particular, we will focus on the potential scenarios of the BRI in the post-COVID-19 world.
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, rising geopolitical tensions, and global economic and health crises, we welcome three distinguished scholars–Daniel Drache, Xing Li, and Adam Kingsmith–to discuss the most pressing issues of the BRI.What are the prospects and potential challenges of the BRI in the coming post-COVID-19 world? Why is it important to understand the BRI? What impacts will BRI have on the future global economy and international order?
This event is co-presented by the International Center for Development and Decent Work, University of Kassel.
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 study Asia.This is the four event in the series.

Daniel Drache is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at York University and Senior Scholar at the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies. His work focuses on mapping and documenting the complexities of globalization at a time of unparalleled inequality. Daniel believes that we can change the global narrative in alternative and dynamic directions through active public engagement, community and critical expression.Daniel has researched and written on various topics from an interdisciplinary perspective such as: global governance and the WTO (with particular focus on public health, the breakdown of the Doha Round negotiations and poverty eradication); NAFTA and North American integration; activist counterpublics and the iconography of dissent; the foundational political economy of Harold Innis and contemporary resource capitalism; and present-day media monitoring. The list of Daniel’s books can be found here. His articles and papers can be found here. Personal Website:
Adam T. Kingsmith is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Politics at York University and co-founder of EiQ Technologies Inc., an emotion-AI start-up based out of the Design Fabrication Zone in the Creative Innovation Studio at Ryerson University. He has written widely on political economy, technology, mental health, emotions and labour. His recent books include the co-authored One Road, Many Dreams: China’s Bold Plan to Remake the Global Economy (Bloomsbury 2019) and the forthcoming monograph “Anxiety as a Weapon: An Affective Approach to Political Economy” (AU Press 2022). Personal Website:
Xing Li is Professor of International Relations and Director of the Research Centre on Development and International Relations (DIR) at Aalborg University, Denmark. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of China and International Relations. Professor Li Xing’s research interests and teaching areas include development studies, international relations, international political economy, and emerging powers and world order, etc. In recent years, apart from publishing numerous international and Chinese journal articles, he has edited a number of book series on the theme of the rise of China/emerging powers and the impact on the existing world order. Four of his recent edited volumes are: Mapping China’s One Belt One Road Initiative (Palgrave Macmillan 2018); The International Political Economy of the BRICS (Routledge 2019); China-Latin American Relations in the 21st Century: The Dual Complexities of Opportunities and Challenges (Palgrave Macmillan 2019-20); China-EU Relations in a New Era of Global Transformation (Routledge 2021). Official Website:
Clara Baumann is a doctoral researcher at the Department of Sociology at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany and affiliated to the International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy (IMPRS-SPCE) in Cologne. After receiving her MA in Regional Studies China at the University of Cologne and studying several years in China and Latin America, she is currently working on the global influence of Chinese state and private investments, and their effects on labour relations. With a focus on Latin America in this context, she is particularly interested in regional transformations in Colombia and Argentina. Further areas of research include regimes of inclusion, exclusion and different forms of empowerment of migrants in an increasingly interconnected world.
Xiao Alvin Yang is a doctoral candidate in Political and Economic Science at Universität Kassel, Germany and a visiting scholar at York Centre for Asian Research, York University, Canada. His dissertation aims to theorize the current (changing) global order and global political economy where there are ongoing 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 China Journal, The Journal of Chinese Political Science, The International Journal, The Journal of Chinese Governance, The Journal of China and International Relations, and Routledge (edited book), World Economics and Politics (Chinese), and The Journal of International Relations (Chinese). Twitter: @XiaoAlvinYang


Apr 29 2021


11:00 am - 12:30 pm
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