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The power of knowledge: China and the world

Knowledge is both powerful and a power. But to whom knowledge can be a power and what knowledge can become powerful and under what circumstances? If knowledge is power, then how are the power relations between those who produced and “own” a specific knowledge and those who don’t? Will the power over certain knowledge enable the power over others? And will knowledge claiming empower the claimers? Moreover, how is the global economic power division interwoven with and underpinned by the global knowledge power hierarchy? Will the economic rise of China and the development of the global “south” lead to a rise of knowledge power of China and the “south”, reshaping the existing global knowledge power balance? And how do the “periphery” and the “local” contest the power of the knowledge “centre” and the “global”?

This interdisciplinary program focuses on the power of knowledge and studies power relations/the change of power relations captured in knowledge production, circulation, appropriation and contestation in our globalized world in which China is gaining more and more importance. The program investigates:

  • How knowledge authority is claimed, established and maintained
  • How knowledge power is entangled with other forms of power, configuring a divide between the global knowledge “centre” and the global knowledge “periphery” alongside the global social, economic and political divide.
  • How an acknowledged body of knowledge (theories, concepts) travels from one destination to another, being accepted, appreciated, questioned, challenged, remoulded or even discarded
  • How the global knowledge “periphery” and the marginalized social groups within a national state contest the hegemony of the established knowledge by claiming and exercising their rights to knowledge production
  • How the rise of China as a global superpower will reshape the global balance of knowledge power and
  • The politics of representation of/by the “other”.

This cluster of themes can be studied at the transnational, national, local and grass-roots levels or across these various levels. They can also be studied in one direction (from the West to non-West), the other way around or in both directions. While the primary focus is on China and Greater China, power relations captured in knowledge production, circulation, appropriation and contestation as an issue of global relevance can be studied from any locality point of view.

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