Grants in 2015

The Foundation supported:

Conference China’s Seapower in Perspective: The Historical and Cultural Dimension.


27 April 2015

This one-day workshop was organised by Dr Basil Germond from the University of Lancaster and funded by the Pierre du Bois Foundation. The conference contributed to the ongoing academic debate on China’s (seemingly growing) seapower by demonstrating that current developments in Chinese seapower cannot be fully understood without references to the cultural dimension of seapower, notably the history of China’s maritime culture. Participants in the workshop included Lancaster faculty members and PhD students.

The workshop resulted in the publication of a Foundation Paper “Current Affairs in Perspective” as well as an academic article (currently under review) titled “China and the Sea: Understanding China’s Sea Power through the Lens of Historical Memory” by PhD students. Both publications ana- lyze China’s renewed interest in sea power through the lens of historical memory. This concept is used to unpack a common narrative seen to recur in many of China’s recent white papers: rejuve- nation from humiliation. An analysis of sea power elements and dynamics from the Southern Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties illustrates the historical and cultural construction of the rejuvena- tion from humiliation narratives. Those narratives allow understanding China’s turn to the sea in two ways: 1) as a defensive response to prevent future humiliation; and 2) as an effort to reclaim past glo- ries through rejuvenation. Understanding how current policies are influenced by historical memory is essential for comprehending the present and future of China’s sea power.

A Papiers d’actualité / Current Affairs in Perspective, entitled “China and the Sea: Understanding China’s Contemporary Sea Power via the Historical Memory Approach”, was published subsequently. You can read it here.


Conference States and Terrorism, An Ambivalent Relationship.


7 and 8 May 2015

The conference was organised by Professor Jussi Hanhimäki and Dr Bernhard Blumenau of the Graduate Insitute and supported by the Fondation Pierre du Bois as well as the Fonds National Suisse. The event provided an excellent opportunity for international researchers to exchange ideas about the relationship between the state and terrorism, as well as the many different levels of cooperation and confrontation between them. It did so by scrutinizing the historical background to this relationship with an overview that ranged from Polish resistance to Russian rule in the 19th century, the Israel-Palestine complex, Carlos the Jackal, East Ger- man and Polish support to terrorism, as well as diplomatic relations between Western countries and those using state terror. A keynote address was given by Professor Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou who addressed issues relating to the Islamic State. The results of this conference will be published as a special journal issue.

For more information, please have a look at the conference programme by clicking here and read the conference summary by clicking here.