Narrating Cold Wars: KEANE & HE

This keynote is part of our three-day conference, Narrating Cold Wars. For the full schedule and registration details, please click below.


When future historians look back on our discordant times, they will surely report an epochal shift of global importance: a transition from failed attempts to restore America’s greatness to China’s return, after two centuries of subjugation, to world pre-eminence. The writing is already on the wall, but strange prejudices, bitter disputes and conflicting predictions currently obscure the implications of such a transformation. Some observers are already sure that ‘the rise of China’ is unsustainable or that forecasts of its global triumph are grossly exaggerated. Others recommend getting tough with an uppity Beijing through trade wars and military clashes in the Taiwan Strait or the South China Sea. Still others believe that a lengthy period of conflict – a new Cold War – is upon us. And there are those who think that the rough-tongued and cack-handed efforts to rejuvenate a militarily overstretched and fiscally overburdened America will unintentionally make China great again.

John Keane is Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB). He is renowned globally for his creative thinking about democracy. Among his best-known books are The New Despotism (2020); Power and Humility: The Future of Monitory Democracy (2018); and the highly acclaimed full-scale history The Life and Death of Democracy (2009).

Baogang He is the Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, Alfred Deakin Professor, Chair in International Relations, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts & Education, Deakin University. Graduated with PhD in Political Science from Australian National University in 1994, Professor He has become widely known for his work in Chinese politics, in particular the deliberative politics in China as well as in Asian politics covering regionalism, international relations, federalism, and multiculturalism in Asia. Professor He has published 6 single-authored books, 1 co-authored book, 7 co-edited books, 88 international refereed journal articles, and 66 book chapters. His publications are found in top journals including ScienceBritish Journal of Political ScienceJournal of Peace Research, Political Theory, Political Studies and Perspectives on Politics.

Chaired by Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Hong Kong Baptist University