Eros of International Relations

Self-Feminizing and the Claiming of Postcolonial Chineseness


Chih-yu Shih

ISBN : 978-988-8754-04-5

Politics, Government, Public Administration

November 2021

140 pages, 6″ x 9″, 1 b&w fig. & 3 tables

  • HK$600.00

Eros of International Relations: Self-Feminizing and the Claiming of Postcolonial Chineseness is a distinctive work that explores the much-neglected Chinese perspective in broader international relations theory. Using the concept of “self-feminizing”—adoption of a feminine identity to oblige and achieve mutual caring as a relational strategy—this book argues that postcolonial actors have employed gendered identities in order to survive the squeezing pressure of globalization and nationalism in their own ways. Sovereign actors who have historically claimed to act on behalf of Chineseness have taken advantage of the images of femininity thrust upon them by transnational capitalism, the media, or intellectual thought.

Shih illustrates the feminist potential for emancipation through a range of empirical examples, showing that women of various Chinese characteristics, acting on behalf of their nation, city, and corporations, reject the masculinization of their groups of belonging as remedy for inferiority or threat. Carried out effectively, Shih argues, actors who self-feminize have the potential to deconstruct the binaries of masculine competition and seek alternative strategies under the postcolonial global order.

Eros of International Relations is a welcome contribution that ties together revisionist yet friendly reflections on the current studies of postcolonialism, international relations, relational theory, China studies, cultural studies, and feminism.

Chih-yu Shih is National Chair Professor and University Chair Professor at National Taiwan University. He has written extensively on and taught Chinese studies, anthropology of knowledge, and international relations theory.

“Chih-yu Shih is one of the pioneers doing gender and international relations in China. His critical renovation of postcolonial feminism demonstrates that self-romanticization, non-solution, and inconsistency are plausible strategies that help us transcend the boundaries internalized by hegemonic discourse.” —Yingtao Li, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China

Eros of International Relations develops the potent idea of self-feminizing as a relational, caring, and emancipatory strategy employed by postcolonial actors in a globalized world. This book is a fascinating reflection on feminist, postcolonial, and non-Western international relations scholarship.” —Arlene B. Tickner, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia

“Drawing on postcolonial feminism, Shih explores the power of self-feminizing as a strategy in world politics, which he illustrates with case studies from Chinese history. A must-read for students of international relations and China alike.” —Pinar Bilgin, Bilkent University, Turkey