Global Political Economy Seminar - China and the emerging Second Cold War

POLIS is delighted to bring you this second seminar of its Global Political Economy series! This event is the second of five seminars focussing on China and the GPE.

Friday 23 February | Maurice Keyworth SR 1.06 & Zoom | 3pm – 4.30pm (GMT)

Speaker: Dr Nick Jepson (University of Manchester)

‘China and the emerging Second Cold War: Competition for network centrality in finance and production’


This talk builds on recent work which theorises the emergence of a US-China Second Cold War (CWII) as a means to grasp contemporary shifts in geopolitics and the global political economy. CWII is conceptualised as one event within a larger historical sequence of US hegemony and challenges to it (encompassing the original Cold War), just as the two World Wars have been understood as episodes in a longer world-historical process of imperial decline and geopolitical reorganisation. Competition in the original Cold War primarily revolved around rival territorial blocs. In the very different context of the contemporary world economy, competition in CWII instead takes place via a struggle for centrality in key global networks (infrastructure, digital, production, and finance). This presentation uses the examples of development finance and critical minerals as a means to Illustrate the nature of this competition and explore China’s position within the finance and production networks (respectively) in more detail. 

Nick Jepson is a lecturer in global development at the University of Manchester’s Global Development Institute (GDI). His work examines the global political economy of the rise of China, particularly in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe. He recently completed a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship on China’s approach to sovereign debt distress and its wider implications for the global financial architecture.  His book In China’s Wake (Columbia University Press) was shortlisted for the 2021 BISA IPEG Prize and received honourable mention for the 2021 Immanuel Wallerstein Memorial Book Award from the ASA’s Political Economy of the World-System section. His work has appeared in New Political Economy, Geopolitics, Development and Change, Area Development and Policy, and World Development. He leads the working group on finance for the China in Europe Research Network (CHERN) and is a founding member of the Second Cold War Observatory.

This event will take place in a hybrid manner. The in-person venue is SR 1.06 in the Maurice Keyworth Building. There is also a Zoom link for those attending online. Please direct queries to Dr Christine Harlen at