Event description

The Fourth Young Scholars Forum on US-China Relations will take place from October 24th-25th at the Carter Center/Emory University in Atlanta, GA, USA. PhD candidates, postdoctoral fellows, assistant /associate professors, think tank analysts, researchers and young professionals outside of academia from China and the U.S. will present findings that examine the role of national identity, nationalism and media in Sino-US relations.


With a tidal wave of populism casting a shadow over political processes in Europe and in the United States as well as in China, resurgent nationalism is evolving as an important factor in international relations. Revived quests for redefining the meaning of the nation can both bolster and undermine foreign policy initiatives. This forum examines the linkages between national identity formations and policy-making in the Sino-US relationship—the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century.

In the past year, we witnessed new public appeals for a strong nation state in both China and the United States. In the US, Trump won the presidential race unexpectedly by trumpeting the slogan “make American great again”. Under President Xi Jinping’s centralization of policy-making, including his anti-corruption campaign and reform of the military, the party-state is projecting an image of a global power capable of handling both its domestic problems and international challenges.

While the extent of nationalism amongst Chinese public is debatable, there are growing manifestations of radical nationalism online, calling for China’s stronger, uncompromising stance on issues ranging from Taiwan to Japan to what some see as US “hegemony.” On the US side, since the election of Donald Trump, many debates about national greatness are rooted in America’s portrayal of strength on the global stage, especially vis-à-vis a rising and more assertive China. Nevertheless, more frequent international travels, migrations, and trades in both countries complicate this picture by adding more cosmopolitan elements.

Key Questions

How does this complex mosaic of nationalism on both sides affect US-China relations? What are the opportunities and challenges for Beijing and Washington to play the card of nationalism? What are the key frictions or contestations of national identity in China and the United States, and how do they play into the formation of the bilateral relationship under Xi Jinping and Trump? How has the deliberate use of social media outlets in distributing information by either the state or social actors on both sides contributed to a heightened state of misperception of each other and misunderstanding between the US and China? Is it fair to say the omnipotence of social media has made it difficult for the nation states to make informed foreign policy decisions?

Proposals are currently in the selection process. Once candidates are selected, a detailed schedule of speakers and registration will become publicly available.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email to either zhongmeiluntan@163.com or zhongmeiluntan@gmail.com or call the following number: 010-65369506 (the Global Times, Beijing) and 404-420-3884 (China Program, The Carter Center, Atlanta).

The conference organizers will cover all local expenses for all paper presenting scholars. Scholars are responsible for securing their own travels to the forum.