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School Research Seminar

Who Rises?: Re-thinking Rising Powers through the Lens of Beliefs

The concept of rising powers is a crucially important one in international relations, central to questions of power transitions, war and peace. Despite the emphasis on these states by both IR theorists and policy experts, there is very little agreement on which state is a rising power, when they rose, and when they have risen. This is because these states are primarily analysed through the lens of their material capabilities. In this book project I argue instead that rising powers also need to be analysed in terms of their beliefs about great power. I examine historical cases of rising powers—the US, the Netherlands, Japan and Germany—to show how beliefs played a role in their rise, and I then draw lessons for our understanding of China and India today.

Manjari Chatterjee Miller is Associate Professor of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, and the author of Wronged by Empire: Post-Imperial Ideology and Foreign Policy in India and China. She works on foreign policy and security issues with a focus on South and East Asia, particularly India and China. Her work has appeared in academic journals as well as non-academic outlets such as Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, The Diplomat, the Asia Society Policy Institute, The Hindu and the Christian Science Monitor, and been supported by, among others, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the East-West Center, Oxford University, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the US Department of Education. Before joining Boston University, Miller completed her PhD at Harvard University, and a post-doctoral fellowship at Princeton University.

Event coverage

On August 7, 2018, Dr. Manjari Chatterjee Miller, Associate Professor of International Relations at Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, University of Boston, discussed on how we could rethink and investigate the rising powers through the lens of their ideas and beliefs. The talk began with an introduction on the differences between China and India as rising powers, whereby while there are numerous articles and debates in China on what are China’s appropriate behaviors as a rising power, but such ideas, or clashes of ideas, are rare in India. She argued that for rising powers to emerge as great powers, material capabilities must be supported by beliefs of the rising power about the distribution of goods in the international order. She also argued that rising powers are not just revisionists, but they can also be accommodational as they rise. Using the historical case studies of the US and the Netherlands to reflect on today’s China and India, she argues that while China is taking the same path as all earlier rising powers, but India may be taking a different path.    

Seminar Room 2-1 
Manasseh Meyer Building
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469E Bukit Timah Road
Tue 7 August 2018
12:15 PM - 01:30 PM

Manjari Chatterjee Miller

Manjari Chatterjee Miller

Associate Professor of International Relations, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University

Kanti Prasad Bajpai

Kanti Prasad Bajpai

Director, Centre on Asia and Globalisation and Wilmar Professor of Asian Studies

Seats are limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Kindly email Siew Ming at to register your interest for this seminar