Editor's note: The dates for submission deadlines and the convening have been pushed back. The new dates have been updated below.
William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, USA—From 22nd to 24th June 2022, William & Mary will convene a select group of policymakers, scholars, business and civil society leaders from around the globe to better understand China’s growing reach and influence. Discussions will center around the form and function of Chinese overseas engagements, implications for low-income and middle-income countries, and possible responses from the US and its partners. It will showcase cutting-edge policy research, build a robust network of stakeholders devoted to this topic, and seek to stimulate evidence-informed dialogue among leaders and thinkers, leading to practical action.
A select group of researchers will gain an exclusive opportunity to directly engage with key global decision-makers around their own research and contribute ideas to shape the future of global development. On the sidelines of the main conference program, researchers contributing papers will participate in an academic roundtable to discuss new directions in scholarly work and explore the formation of an informal research network on this broader topic. The convening will feature three tracks, within which we seek original research papers.
Track 1: Bankrolling development—Geoeconomics during the BRI and Build Back Better World Era
During the era of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), China has outspent the US and other major powers by a considerable margin. But its international lending and grant-making activities remain shrouded in secrecy. While Beijing’s provision of aid and credit is helping address infrastructure deficits and stimulate short-term economic growth, it has also raised concerns about corruption, environmental degradation, and debt distress. In response, the US and EU have launched “values-driven” and “climate-friendly” alternatives to the BRI—namely, the Build Back Better World (B3W) and Global Gateway initiatives. This track seeks to explore the evolution of China’s geo-economic strategy; competition and coordination between Chinese, OECD-DAC, and multilateral sources of development finance; buyer’s remorse among BRI participant countries; as well as the social, economic, and environmental implications of Chinese development finance.
Track 2: Projecting influence—Soft and sharp power to shape popular opinion, leader behavior, and the international order
China’s rapid economic ascent has been met with both global admiration and apprehension. Optimists welcome an economically strong China they hope will generate new trade deals and investments. Skeptics view Beijing’s assertiveness as a threat to national sovereignty, democratic norms, and the international order, particularly as it adapts a whole-of-government approach through the full spectrum of resources at its disposal. Western democracies are concerned that the growing acceptance of China’s development model could erode democratic norms across the Global South. Papers in this track should address how the strategies, tools and tactics comprising Beijing’s influence playbook have evolved over time; host country responses; and identification of and strategies for the various areas of collaboration and competition for the US and its Western partners to shape popular opinion, leader behavior, and the international order.
Track 3: Contested cooperation—Collective action in an era of great power competition
With new state actors vying for influence and rising nationalism around the world, multilateralism is weathering a crisis of relevance. Yet, the world’s most intractable challenges—climate change, public health, economic development, collective security—likely necessitate greater cooperation between state and non-state actors. As the world’s second largest economy, China could bring substantial resources to assist in global collective action. But greater Chinese involvement risks worsening human security. Papers in this track should explore ways in which China is working through existing multilateral venues; when, where, and why it is setting up or shaping alternative global institutions; where common ground may exist between China and the West; and efforts to manage risks to human security due to Chinese actions.
Paper proposals should include a 350-word abstract and the name and affiliation of the author(s). We strongly encourage authors to highlight the conceptual and methodological novelty of their contribution and to clearly highlight the policy implications of their findings. Please identify the most relevant track. The deadline for submission of abstracts is March 15th, 2022. Submissions selected for presentation will be notified by April 4th, 2022. Full papers are due by June 1st, 2022.
Priority will be given to original papers that use, or build upon, one or more of AidData’s datasets—including, but not limited to, AidData's Global Chinese Development Finance Dataset (Version 2.0), China’s Public Diplomacy Dashboard Dataset (Version 1.2), the 2017 Listening to Leaders Survey Aggregate Dataset, and the How China Lends Dataset (Version 1.0).
Authors of selected papers will be eligible for a travel stipend to defray costs of airfare, lodging and meals.