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Sovereignty in China
A Genealogy of a Concept since 1840

$110.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law

  • Date Published: September 2019
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108474191

$ 110.00 (C)

Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
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About the Authors
  • This book provides a comprehensive history of the emergence and the formation of the concept of sovereignty in China from the year 1840 to the present. It contributes to broadening the history of modern China by looking at the way the notion of sovereignty was gradually articulated by key Chinese intellectuals, diplomats and political figures in the unfolding of the history of international law in China, rehabilitates Chinese agency, and shows how China challenged Western Eurocentric assumptions about the progress of international law. It puts the history of international law in a global perspective, interrogating the widely-held belief of international law as universal order and exploring the ways in which its history is closely anchored to a European experience that fails to take into account how the encounter with other non-European realities has influenced its formation.

    • Provides a comprehensive history of the concept of sovereignty in China, exploring where China's claim to sovereignty originated and might be heading in the future
    • Shows how the Chinese conceptions diverted from Western Eurocentric legal norms and contributed to the globalisation of international law
    • Demonstrates how Chinese diplomats used sovereignty and new legal categories to defend against Western imperialism and successfully expand China's interests
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The Confucian admonition that one needs to study the past to understand the present is especially apt when it comes to China and sovereignty. Fortunately, Dr Maria Adele Carrai’s new book provides a superb genealogy of Chinese approaches to sovereignty over time, from historic times to the present, that will be a key departure point on this important topic for years to come.' William P. Alford, Jerome A. and Joan L. Cohen Professor of East Asian Legal Studies and Director of East Asian Legal Studies, Harvard University

    'Carrai’s innovative conceptual history of ‘sovereignty’ in China explores the changing meanings of international law and its structures of authority and legitimacy through three periods of dramatic Chinese political transition. This is a study not only of Chinese reception and adaptation. It provides a foundation for scrutiny of China’s active participation in shaping our present international legal order.' Madeleine Zelin, Dean Lung Professor of Chinese Studies, Columbia University

    'This is a stimulating, learned, and readable analysis of the many uses the malleable concept of ‘sovereignty’ has served in China’s relations with the world for almost two centuries. It offers invaluable assistance for parsing the rhetoric of both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump in the current East-West contest for domination.' Jerome A. Cohen, Faculty Director of US-Asia Law Institute, New York University

    'This study provides a much-needed concise history of the genealogy of sovereignty as a central concept of modern international law and politics in the context of Chinese transformation and Sino-foreign encounters since the mid nineteenth century. Its nuanced analysis of Chinese specificity and agency in shaping international legal and political history will be of great interest to scholars of China, comparative politics, and international history.' Li Chen, University of Toronto

    'Sovereignty occupies the conceptual heart of the Chinese Communist Party’s bid to claim for China its rightful place in the world and to justify its international policies. By showing how this concept emerged and what it means today, Carrai sets out the rhetorical terrain across which those who wish to enter into conversation with official China will have to make their way.' Timothy Brook, Republic of China Chair, Department of History, University of British Columbia

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108474191
    • length: 298 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 157 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus.
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • Table of Contents

    1. International law and the sinocentric ritual system: a nineteenth-century clash of normative orders
    2. Secularizing a sacred empire: early translations and uses of international law
    3. China's struggle for survival and the new Darwinist conception of international society (1895–1911)
    4. China rejoining the world and its fictional sovereignty, 1912–1949
    5. From Proletarian revolution to peaceful coexistence: sovereignty in the PRC, 1949–1989

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    Sovereignty in China

    Maria Adele Carrai

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  • Author

    Maria Adele Carrai, Harvard University, Massachusetts
    Maria Adele Carrai is currently a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and a Fellow at Harvard University Asia Center. She completed a Ph.D. in Law at the University of Hong Kong in 2016, where she received the Award for Outstanding Postgraduate Research Student for 2015–16, the Hong Kong Ph.D. Fellowship and the Swire Scholarship. Since she completed her Ph.D., she has been Princeton-Harvard China and the World Fellow (2017–18), New York University Global Hauser Fellow (2016–17), Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence (2015–17). Her research has appeared in various peer-review journals and she has spoken in a variety of fora.

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