Area Development and Policy - Annual Lecture 2019

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Economic Geography Specialty Group, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Diplomat Room, Omni, West
Organizers: Dieter Kogler, Michael Dunford, Weidong Liu
Chairs: Michael Dunford


This presentation is the Annual Lecture for the journal "Area, Development and Policy" which is owned by the Regional Studies Association (RSA). Further information about the Association and its funding activities are available from -

Prof. Deborah Brautigam (Johns Hopkins University)

Chinese Debt-Trap Diplomacy: The Rise (and Fall) of a Meme

In 2017, a meme was born in a think tank in northern India: "Chinese Debt-Trap Diplomacy." Furthered by a paper authored by two Harvard students, this meme briefly took deep root in Washington, DC and then ricocheted far beyond the Beltway, to the New York Times and beyond. Thundered by a US Secretary of State, wafting quietly through intelligence circles, hovering in Congress, settling briefly in the Pentagon, within 12 months the meme appeared to have "about 1,990,000 results (0.52 seconds)" on Google and was beginning to solidify into firm, conventional wisdom, accepted as a deep historical truth. This talk documents the efforts of one Sinologist Africanist to speak "truth" to "power". It concludes with a critical exploration of the relationship among the media, the academy and the policy world.

Prof. Deborah Brautigam is the Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy and Director of the International Development Program (IDEV), and the China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC.


Type Details Minutes
Introduction Douglas Richardson American Association of Geographers 10
Panelist Deborah Bräutigam Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) 50
Discussant Padraig Carmody Trinity College Dublin 15
Discussant Meredith DeBoom University of South Carolina 15

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