Re-thinking the Bases of U.S. Power and Authority in East Asia

Event details

Public Lecture

Date & time

Thursday 10 October 2013


Lecture Theatre 1, Hedley Bull Centre (130), corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU


Evelyn Goh and David C. Kang


Kerrie Hogan
+61 2 6125 2168
This seminar will also feature a launch of Evelyn Goh's new book on The Struggle for Order: Hegemony, Hierarchy, and Transition in Post-Cold War East Asia. Please join us for complimentary drinks and canapes after the public lecture in the Atrium of the Hedley Bull Centre following the seminar.


Prevailing analyses in strategic studies and international relations rest upon assessments of relative power, which in turn rely on assumptions about quantifiable material assets. In this seminar, Kang and Goh focus instead on the concept of authority, understood as legitimate rule or the right to command. They argue that many of the main trends and puzzles of East Asian security are better explained using the range of more normative and social understandings associated with authority, as opposed to material rationalist accounts. The seminar features the specific case of the foundations of the U.S. leadership role in East Asia, interrogating the counterfactual beliefs that underlie arguments about the need for the U.S. forward presence as deterrence in the region, and testing what we should expect to see in terms of policy choices if these assumptions were correct. Conversely, if there is insufficient evidence for these material explanations, Kang and Goh suggest how we may investigate the non-material underpinnings of regional support for U.S. authority, and indeed hegemony.

About the Speakers:

Evelyn Goh is the Shedden Professor of Strategic Policy Studies at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre of the Australian National University. Her research interests are East Asian security and international relations theory. She has published widely on U.S.-China relations and diplomatic history, regional security cooperation and institutions in East Asia, Southeast Asian strategies towards great powers, and environmental security. Her latest book is The Struggle for Order: Hegemony, Hierarchy, and Transition in Post-Cold War East Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). She has held previous faculty positions at the University of Oxford, Royal Holloway University of London, and the Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

David C. Kang is Professor of International Relations and Business at the University of Southern California, with appointments in both the School of International Relations and the Marshall School of Business. At USC he is also director of the Korean Studies Institute. Kang's latest book is East Asia Before the West: Five Centuries of Trade and Tribute (Columbia University Press, 2010). Kang is also author of China Rising: Peace, Power, and Order in East Asia (Columbia University Press, 2007); Crony Capitalism: Corruption and Development in South Korea and the Philippines (Cambridge University Press, 2002), and Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies (co-authored with Victor Cha). A regular consultant for U.S. government agencies, Kang has also written opinion pieces in the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, and has appeared regularly on CNN, BBC, and NPR. He received an A.B. with honors from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from Berkeley.

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