Call for Papers! Deadline: September 15, 2013

Better draft no text

Deng Xiaoping’s rise to power in 1978 has often been celebrated as the advent of China’s economic and political rise. While Mao Zedong had started to initiate contacts with the West (most famously with Nixon in 1972), it was Deng who pursued a systemic plan to bring China out of the hermetic decline that resulted from years of economic and political stagnation brought about by the Cultural Revolution. While much scholarly attention has been dedicated to China’s interaction with the United States and Asian countries in the 1970s and 1980s, no authoritative study exists on Beijing’s interaction with European states. This seems to be a curious anamoly since Beijing also engaged with European states on either side of the Iron Curtain in the Reform and Opening era. But what were the mutual motivations in seeking a speedy post-Mao rapprochement? From Beijing’s perspective, was it purely out of the desire to seek economic know-how from European countries during Deng’s Reforms? Or were economic considerations outweighed by a more political calculus of “re-embracing” foreign policy after the Cultural Revolution? And in engaging European states, how did Beijing differentiate between the Soviet bloc and Western European countries? A series of questions also arise when considering the European perspective. Namely, how was Deng’s rise perceived on either side of the Iron Curtain? What were the main considerations in reforging a new relationship with Beijing? How did renewed superpower tensions during the Second Cold War affect the Sino-East/West European rapprochement process? Also, what was the role of non-governmental actors in Sino-European relations?

We look forward to submissions from emerging as well as established scholars who are using archival material from China, Europe and elsewhere in addressing these and more questions.

The deadline for proposals is 15 September. Proposals should include a title and and abstract of no more than 400 words in addition to the author’s name, address, telephone number, email address and institutional affiliation and should be emailed to Martin Albers ( and Zhong Zhong Chen ( Accepted panelists will be informed by 1 October 2013 and will be expected to submit a written version of their paper for pre-circulation by November 15.

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Meet your convenors!


A native of Hamburg, Germany, Martin Albers has studied and worked in Geneva, Beijing and is now completing his PhD with Prof. David Reynolds on Sino-European relations in the 1970s at the University of Cambridge. When he’s not busy researching or writing, he has been known to conquer alpine peaks in his mountain boots.


Originally a native of Nanjing, China, Zhong Zhong Chen now calls Toronto his home and is currently working on his PhD on Sino-East German relations in the 1980s with Dr. Kristina Spohr at the London School of Economics. Up until this day, he still doesn’t know if the best part of far-flung archival trips are the treasures in the documents or the local cuisine.

Previous collaboration: Martin and Zhong (along with Hannah Higgin & Mark Miller) co-organized a highly-successful international conference on the Public Relations of the Cold War in 2011. Participants included Steven Casey, Kenneth Osgood, Christopher Andrew, Odd Arne Westad, Andrew Preston among others:


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