UCL Department of Geography


Promoting geopolitical studies

1 October 2021

Jason Dittmer delivers keynote lectures in China

Promoting geopolitical studies

From 25-29 July, Professor Jason Dittmer was invited to speak at the Advanced Workshop on Social and Cultural Geography at Shaanxi Normal University, in Xi’an, central China.

This was one of an annual series of national workshops in which social and cultural geographers from across China, and indeed from across the Chinese diaspora, come together to discuss the state of their field. The research presented suggested that this is an exciting time in Chinese geography as the country takes on a growing role on the world stage.

Jason spoke about his recent work on geopolitical assemblages, and especially his recent book, Diplomatic Material, tracing how the decisions and actions of diplomats and policymakers are shaped by complex interactions between people and things at the micro level.

There was generally an air of excitement about this concept, with attendees discussing its potential implications for their research, from the examination of Chinese heritage tourism to the geopolitics of the 'One Belt, One Road’ infrastructure project linking China to central and western Asia.

Outside the conference, Jason enjoyed great hospitality, including tours of the famous Terracotta Soldiers, the Summer Palace, and the Shaanxi History Museum.

Future collaboration may include both a special issue bringing together Chinese and Western scholarship on geopolitics and more conferencing next year to deepen exchange relations.