September 2012 saw the launch of a new project, “Where Rising Powers meet: China and Russia at their north Asian border” in Cambridge’s Division of Social Anthropology. The project, funded by the ESRC, will run for three years under the leadership of Professor Caroline Humphrey, a renowned expert on the region. Professor Humphrey will head a multidisciplinary team of 17 researchers who will carry out research at various sites along the border, from Mongolia in the west to Vladivostok in the east. The researchers, all specialists in their field and with years of experience of research along this strategic border, are drawn from a diverse range of disciplines and national institutions.
The Where Rising Powers Meet project aims to investigate what this border can tell us about the differing political economies of the two countries and their trajectories in the post-1991 era. Since each state exercises full sovereignty right up to their mutual border, there is no better place to compare the two remarkably dissimilar ways that economic development, the rule of law, citizen rights, migration, and inequality are managed. Yet state policies encounter volatile, more or less independent activities across this border. An important question the project will address is: how stable is this situation and what do the trends visible today indicate about the future of the two ‘rising powers’?
The new research programme builds on an earlier project, also funded by the ESRC (RES-075–25_0022) that ran from January 2010 to January 2011. It brought together anthropologists, sociologists, economists and stakeholders with specialist knowledge of the region into productive dialogue. Their work was presented at two workshops where multiple political, economic and sociocultural dimensions of the border were explored. The workshops led to the publication of Frontier Encounters: Knowledge and Practice at the Russian, Chinese and Mongolian Border (Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, 2012), the first book in English to focus on the border between China and Russia.
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A project funded by the ESRC