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Jia Wenshan: Enlightenment of American regional research model to B&R studies


On the evening of June 19th, RDCY Seminar Series was held in Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China (RDCY). Jia Wenshan, researcher of National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University of China (RUC), distinguished professor of School of Journalism and Communication of RUC, expert of the Recruitment Program of Global Experts, academician of the International Cross-cultural Research Institute, tenure professor of Chapman University, delivered a speech about enlightenment of American regional studies model to the researches on “Belt and Road” (B&R). Professor Jia proposed that in the next five to ten years, the B&R study should focus on five major goals to promote connectivity, instead of the “assimilation” that the America advocated.

Professor Jia pointed out that although the US’ regional studies inherit and develop from the British global colonial model, it is a rebellion against the European Sinology model. European Sinology and Chinese studies have an antagonistic relationship. Sinology studies focus on Chinese classical traditions. However, since the Opium War, Western missionaries came to China and learned to communicate with the Chinese to realize the goal of assimilating the Chinese. Now the assimilation of the US is actually the Americanization of politics, economy, and culture.

Jia Wenshan believes that the B&R strives to achieve a goal of mutually connectivity in China`s interaction with the world. What China wants to do is to promote the understanding among the countries. The community of shared future for mankind emphasizes the seeking of common ground, while respecting the differences between groups and diversity.

He said that some advantages of regional and globalization research of the US are worth learning from. First, the paradigm of discipline. Its research methods and research philosophy are constantly innovating and advancing with the times. Second, no matter what research fields you are doing, you can accommodate different disciplines and promote interdisciplinary communication, cooperation, and integration.

He introduced the current situation on the B&R studies. First of all, domestic researches are mostly concerning about Chinese policy interpretation, and field researches are very limited. For the overseas B&R research, on the one hand, some of the think tank scholars who influence the Western countries` policy decisions think in their own way that the B&R is to conquer, exploit and oppress other countries. On the other hand, several scholars study the B&R from the perspective of anthropology and believe that the B&R is conducive for the communication of different cultures.

Professor Jia talked about how the BRI study should be done in the future. First, the research on the B&R should go into universities from the think tanks, and form a disciplinary system, or be included in an existing disciplinary system. Second, the study should not embrace all countries or regions along the route. The B&R is both a global initiative and a national and cross-regional one. The future research should focus on strengthening effective communication between China and other countries or regions. He also proposed to establish a research center focusing on the research of the B&R and the community of shared future for mankind.

Key Words:BRI   US   regional studies   Jia Wenshan  

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