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Han Cheng

Han Cheng

PhD Candidate

Han Cheng is interested in the changing world politics with a particular focus on the so-called 'rising powers'. His interdisciplinary research addresses the growing emergence of diverse global development ideas, actors and practices. Prior to PhD, he worked four years on international policy for sustainable development with leading think tanks in the US, China, India and South Africa.​

Biography

Qualifications

  • PhD Candidate Geography, University of Cambridge, January 2017-present
  • MPhil Geography, University of Cambridge 2016
  • Visiting Fellow, Yale University MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies 2015
  • BA Japanese Studies (Concentration: International Economics and Trade), Renmin University of China 2011

Awards

  • Cambridge Trust International Scholarship
  • Trinity Hall Graduate Research Award, University of Cambridge
  • Philip Lake Fund & William Vaughan Lewis Fund Research Award, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • Alexander von Humboldt German Chancellor Fellowship

Research

Han's PhD project examines China's growing production of international development knowledges. Within the increasingly pluralising landscape of global development, China stands out as a particular vibrant and expanding player. Specifically, accompanying China's growing presence is the production of its knowledge constructs on distinct ways of seeing, doing and imagining development. The knowledge production processes are drawn on both China's domestic experiences, and also its active engagement with 'Southern' and 'Northern' counterparts through dialogue and partnerships.

This project seeks to explore how various knowledges travel, translate and come into play. The aim is to arrive at a critical geographical understanding of what particular knowledge constructs emerge out of these assembling processes, and why. His research looks to investigate the messy politics of knowledge production, examining the entanglement of multiple forces that shapes how 'development' comes to be understood, framed and articulated. Using ethnographic methods, his fieldwork focuses on a group of Chinese development experts and their knowledge production activities in China, India and Tanzania.

His research also reflects on how China's role is affecting Western donors' transition strategies and global development agendas. Meanwhile, he is interested in the rise of Chinese non-state actors in global development, including business consultancies, private philanthropies, NGOs and volunteer organisations. This PhD project is built on his MPhil thesis in 2016, examining the discursive changes of development ideas in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) over the past fifteen years.

Publications

Selected presentations

  • Development Studies Association Rising Powers Study Group 'Rising Powers in 2018' One Day Workshop, London School of Economics, London April 2018
  • ESRC & Africa Research Institute Workshop, African cities in a changing development context: 'new donors', investment and urban transformation, London June 2017
  • Department of Geography, Cambridge: Societies, Markets, States Research Group Seminar, May 2017; MPhil Forum, June 2016
  • Development Studies Association Annual Conference, Oxford Department of International Development, Oxford September 2016
  • Rising Powers Young Researchers Conference, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton March 2016

External activities

  • Co-Convenor, Geographies of Knowledge Research Group, Cambridge, 2017-present
  • Member, Global Challenges Initiative for the SDGs, Cambridge, 2017-present
  • Graduate Research Fellow, Global Economic Governance Programme, Cambridge, 2016-present
  • Member, Development Studies Association, 2016-present