Prof Emilian Kavalski

Li Dak Sum Chair Professor in China-Eurasia Relations and International Studies, School of International Studies

International Studies / Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Staff Profile Portrait Image



Room 320, Trent Building


University of Nottingham Ningbo China


199 Taikang East Road, Ningbo, 315100, China


+86 (0)574 8818 0000 - 8913


PhD – Loughborough University, UK 

MA – University of Warwick, UK 

Magister – University of Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria


Emilian Kavalski is the Li Dak Sum Chair Professor in China-Eurasia Relations and International Studies. Prior to joining UNNC, Emilian worked at the Australian Catholic University and the Western Sydney University both in Sydney (Australia). Emilian has also held research positions at the Institute for Political Studies, Academia Sinica (Taiwan), Aalborg University (Denmark), the Institute for the International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict, Ruhr Universitat-Bochum (Germany), the Rachel Carson Center (Germany), the Graduate Institute of International Politics, the National Chung Hsing University (Taiwan), Osaka University (Japan), the Research Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, National Taiwan University (Taiwan), as well as the Andrew Mellon Fellowship position at the American Institute for Indian Studies (New Delhi, India), and the I.W.Killam Postdoctoral position at the Department of Political Science, University of Alberta (Canada). Emilian is also the book series editor for Routledge’s ‘Rethinking Asia and International Relations’ series and the Central and West Asia Regional Editor for the journal Asian Studies Review.


INTS3015: Regionalism in Europe and Asia

Research interests

Expertise Summary

International Relations theory, Security Studies, global connectivity projects, (new) regionalism, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Belt and Road Initiative, NATO, EU foreign policy, Chinese Foreign Policy, Indian Foreign Policy, Central Asian affairs, East European politics, Europe-Asia relations, complexity thinking

Research Interests

Emilian is currently working on the globalization/ worlding/ decentralization of International Relations theory and practice as a result of the growing prominence of non-Western (especially, Asian) international actors and the noticeable impact of global climate change. In particular, he explores   (i) the nascent Asian normative orders and the ways in which they confront, compliment, and transform established traditions, norms, and institutions; and (ii)the encounter of International Relations with life in the Anthropocene, especially the conceptualization of and engagement with non-human actors. Emilian contends that in both these areas the concept and practices of relationality have important implications for the ways in which global life is approached, explained, and understood.

ORCID Account



Kavalski, E. (2018). The Guanxi of Relational International Theory. Routledge.

Kavalski, E. (2012), Central Asia and the Rise of Normative Powers: Contextualizing the Security Governance of the European Union, China, and India. Bloomsbury.

Kavalski, E. (2010), India and Central Asia: The Mythmaking and International Relations of a Rising Power. I.B. Tauris.

Kavalski, E. (2008), Extending the European Security Community: Constructing Peace in the Balkans. I.B. Tauris.

Edited Volumes:

Cudworth, E.; Hobden, S. and Kavalski, E. (2018), Posthuman Dialogues in International Relations. Routledge.

Walton, D. and Kavalski, E. (2017) Power Transition in Asia. Routledge.

Kavalski, E. (2015), World Politics at the Edge of Chaos: Reflections on Complexity and Global Life. State University of New York Press.

Kavalski, E. (2015), Encounters with World Affairs: An Introduction to International Relations. Routledge.

Kavalski, E. and Horesh, N. (2014), Asian Thought on China’s Changing International Relations. Palgrave.

Kavalski, E. (2012), The Asghate Research Companion to Chinese Foreign Policy. Routledge.

Kavalski, E. (2010), The New Central Asia: The Regional Impact of International Actors. World Scientific.

Kavalski, E. (2010), Stable Outside, Fragile Inside? Post-Soviet Statehood in Central Asia. Routledge.

Kavalski, E. (2009), China and the Global Politics of Regionalization. Routledge.

Kavalski, E. and Zolkos, M. (2008),Defunct Federalisms: Critical Perspectives on Federal Failure. Routledge.


Kavalski, E (2020), Inside/Outside and Around: Complexity and the Relational Ethics of Global LifeGlobal Society.

Kavalski, E (2020), The Unexpected Consequences of China’s Cooperation with Central and Eastern EuropeInternational Studies 57(1), 1-19.

Kavalski, E [with A. Nordin, G. Smith, Y. Hwang, P. Jackson, L.H.M. Ling, D. Nexon, Y. Qin, C. Shih, D. Tyfield, M. Zalewski] (2019), Towards Global Relational Theorizing: A Dialogue between Sinophone and Anglophone Scholarship on RelationalismCambridge Review of International Affairs 32(5), 570-581.

Kavalski, E. (2019), China in Central and Eastern Europe: The Unintended Effects of Identity NarrativesAsia Europe Journal 17(4), 403-419

Kavalski, E. (2019), ‘The Puzzle of India's Relations with Central Eurasia’, Asian Security 15(3), 304-322.

Kavalski, E. (2018), ‘Guanxi or What Is the Chinese for Relational Theory of World Politics’, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 18(3), 397-420.

Kavalski, E. and Pan, C. (2018), ‘Theorizing China’s Rise in and beyond International Relations’, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 18(3), 289-311.

Kavalski, E. (2018), ‘China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Central and Eastern Europe’, Asian International Studies Review 19(2), 13-32.

Kavalski, E. (2018), ‘Community of Values or Community of Practice? Worlding the Study of Region-Building’, East Asian Community Review 1(1/2), 5-17.

Kavalski, E. (2018), ‘The Guanxi of Relational International Affairs’, Chinese Political Science Review 3(3), 233-51.

Kavalski, E. and Cho, Y.C. (2018), ‘The European Union in Central Eurasia: Still Searching for Strategy’, Asia Europe Journal 16(1), 51-63

Kavalski, E. (2017), ‘Normative Power Europe and Normative Power China Compared: Towards a Relational Knowledge-Production in International Relations’, Korean Political Science Review 51(6), 147-170.

Kavalski, E. (2017), ‘Recognizing normative state action in international life’, Political Studies Review 15(2), 231-242.

Kavalski, E. (2016), ‘Relationality and Its Chinese Characteristics’China Quarterly 226, 551-559.

Kavalski, E. (2016), ‘The EU-India Strategic Partnership: Neither Very Strategic, nor Much of a Partnership’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs 29(1): 192-208.

Kavalski, E. (2016), ‘More of the Same: An Unpredictable Trump Foreign Policy in an Unpredictable Central Asia’, Monde Chinois 4(48): 111-18.

Kavalski, E. and Cho, Y. C. (2015), Governing Uncertainty in Turbulent TimesComparative Sociology 14(3), 429-44.

Kavalski, E. (2014), ‘The Shadows of Normative Power in Asia: Framing the International Agency of China, India, and Japan’, Pacific Focus 29(3): 303 – 328.

Kavalski, E. (2013), ‘The Struggle for Recognition of Normative Powers: Normative Power Europe and Normative Power China in Context’, Cooperation and Conflict, 48(2), 247 – 267.

Kavalski, E. (2012), ‘Brand India or “Pax Indica”? The Myth of Assertive Posturing in India’s Post-1998 Foreign Policy Making’, Harvard Asia Quarterly, 14(2), 44 – 50.

Kavalski, E. (2012), ‘Waking IR up from its ‘deep Newtonian slumber”, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 41(1), 137 – 150.

Kavalski, E. (2011), ‘From the Cold War to Global Warming: Observing Complexity in IR’, Political Studies Review, 19 (1), 1 – 12.

Kavalski, E. (2010), ‘Shanghaied into Cooperation: Framing China’s Socialization of Central Asia’, Journal of Asian and African Studies, 45(2), 131 – 145.

Kavalski, E. (2009), ‘Timescapes of Security: Clocks, Clouds, and the Complexity of Security Governance’, World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution, 65(7), 527 – 551.

Kavalski, E. (2008), ‘The Complexity of Global Security Governance: An Analytical Overview’, Global Society, 22(4), 423 – 443.

Kavalski, E. and Zolkos, M. (2007), ‘The Hoax of War: The Foreign Policy Discourses of Poland and Bulgaria on Iraq’, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 15(3), 377 – 394.

Kavalski, E. (2007), ‘The Fifth Debate and the Emergence of Complex International Relations Theory: Notes on the Application of Complexity Theory to the Study of International Life’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20(3), 435 – 454.

Book chapters

Kavalski, E (2020), Complexity Thinking and the Relational Ethics of Global Life. In The Routledge Handbook on Rethinking Ethics in International Relations, ed. B. Schippers. Routledge.

Kavalski, E (2020), Localizing China’s Global Silk Roads through the “17+1.” In Regions in the Belt and Road Initiative, ed. J. Fulton. Routledge.

Kavalski, E. (2018), India: Breaking Out of the Middle Power Straitjacket? In Rethinking Middle Power in the Indo-Pacific, ed. T. Struye de Swielande, D. Vandamme, D. Walton, and T. Wilkins, Routledge, 162-173.

Kavalski, E. (2018), Normative Power Beyond the Eurocentric Frame. In Oxford Bibliographies of International Relations, ed. P. James, Oxford University Press.

Kavalski, E. (2018), Chinese Concepts and Relational International Politics. In Widening the World of International Relations, ed. E. Aydinli and G. Biletkin, Routledge, 104-122.

Cudworth, E.; Hobden, S. and Kavalski, E. (2018), ‘Framing the Posthuman Dialogues in International Relations’, in E. Cudworth, S. Hobden, and E. Kavalski, (eds), Posthuman Dialogues in International Relations. Routledge, 1-14.

Kavalski, E.; Hobden, S. and Cudworth, E. (2018), ‘Beyond the Anthropocentric Partitioning of the World’, in E. Cudworth, S. Hobden, and E. Kavalski, (eds), Posthuman Dialogues in International Relations. Routledge, 277-290.

Kavalski, E. (2017), ‘Whether Power Transition and Whither if One’, in D. Walton and E. Kavalski (eds), Power Transition in Asia. Routledge, 207-221.

Kavalski, E. (2016), ‘The European Union in the Heartland: A Normative Power Looking for a Strategy in Central Eurasia’, in A. Saikal and K. Nourzhanov (eds), Afghanistan and Its Neighbours after the NATO Withdrawal, Lexington Books, 195-210.

Kavalski, E. and Zolkos, M. (2016) ‘The Recognition of Nature in International Relations’ in P. Hayden and K. Schick (eds), Recognition and Global Politics. Manchester University Press. 139-156.

Kavalski, E. (2015), ‘India’s Bufircated Look to Central Eurasia: Central Asia and Afghanistan’ in D. Malone, C. Raja Mohan, and S. Raghvan (eds), Oxford Handbook on Indian Foreign Policy. Oxford University Press, 424-436.

Kavalski, E. (2015), ‘Inside/Outside and Around: Observing the Complexity of Global Life’ in E. Kavalski (ed) World Politics at the Edge of Chaos: Reflections on Complexity and Global Life. State University of New York Press. 1-27.

Kavalski, E. (2015), ‘Complexifying IR: Disturbing the “Deep Newtonian Slumber” of the Mainstream’ in E. Kavalski (ed), World Politics at the Edge of Chaos. State University of New York Press. 253-271.

Kavalski, E. (2015),‘Observing and Encountering Global Life’ in E. Kavalski (ed), Encounters with World Affairs. Routledge. 1-11.

Kavalski, E. (2015), ‘What Next for the Study and Practice of World Affairs’ in E. Kavalski (ed), Encounters with World Affairs. Routledge. 415-423.

Kavalski, E. (2015), ‘The European Union and India: Birds of a Feather or Frenemies for Ever?’ in P.Winand, A. Benvenuti and M.Guderzo (eds), The External Relations of the European Union. Peter Lang. 151-166.

Kavalski, E. (2014), ’Recognizing Chinese IR Theory’ in N. Horesh and E.Kavalski (eds), Asian Thought on China’s Changing International Relations. Palgrave. 230-248.

Kavalski, E. (2013), ‘Chinese Normative Communities of Practice’ in X. Li (ed), China-Africa Relations in an Era of Great Transformations. Routledge. 49-70.

Kavalski, E. (2012), ‘Universal Values and Geopolitical Interests: China and India in the Global Competition’ in N. Genov (ed), Global Trends and Regional Development. Routledge. 280-296.

Kavalski, E. (2012), ‘Acting Politically in Global Life: Security and Its Logic of Resilience’ in D.Walton (ed), Contending Views on International Security. Nova Publishers. 87-101.

Kavalski, E. (2012), ‘Engaging China and Its Foreign Policy’ in E. Kavalski (ed), Ashgate Research Companion to Chinese Foreign Policy. Routledge. 1-19.

Kavalski, E. (2012), ‘Whither China and Its Foreign Policy’ in E. Kavalski (ed), Ashgate Research Companion to Chinese Foreign Policy. Routledge. 413-423.

Kavalski, E. (2011), ‘Looking North: Central Asia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’ in D. Scott (ed), A Handbook of India’s International Relations. Routledge. 201-210.

Kavalski, E. (2010), ‘An Elephant in a China Shop? India’s “Look North” to Central Asia… Seeing Only China’ in M. Laruelle et al. (eds), China and India in Central Asia. Palgrave. 41-60.

Kavalski, E. (2010), ‘The International Politics of Fusion and Fissure in the Awkward States of Post-Soviet Central Asia’ in E. Kavalski (ed), Stable Outside, Fragile Inside? Post-Soviet Statehood in Central Asia. Routledge. 3-33.

Kavalski, E. (2009), ‘The Grass Was Always Greener in the Past: Re-Nationalizing Bulgaria’s Return to Europe’ in I. Karolewski and A. Suszycki (eds), Nationalism in Contemporary Europe. Lexington Books. 219-244.

Kavalski, E. (2009), ‘“Do as I Do:” The Global Politics of China’s Regionalization’ in E. Kavalski (ed), China and the Global Politics of Regionalization. Routledge. 1-17

Kavalski, E. (2009), ‘Making a Region Out of a Continent? China’s Regionalization of Africa’ in E. Kavalski (ed), China & the Global Politics of Regionalization. Routledge. 177-190.

Opinion Pieces

Kavalski, E. (2020), The End of China’s Romance with Eastern Europe?Global Policy, 1 July.

Kavalski, E. (2020), What Impact will the Covid-19 Pandemic Have on the Global Role of ChinaWorking Paper 4:1 of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Hungary), 8 May.

Kavalski, E and N.R. Smith (2020), Immunity Passports: A “New” Old Idea with BaggageGlobal Policy, 27 April.

Kavalski, E. and N.R. Smith (2020), Epidemics and the Real Thucydides TrapGlobal Policy, 26 February.

Kavalski, E. and M. Mayer (2020), Proposed EU Criteria for New Members Show Wary Europe has China on Its MindThe South China Morning Post, 11 February.

Kavalski, E. and N.R. Smith (2020), Putin’s Reforms May be more about Legacy Building than Power Grabbing,  The South China Morning Post, 27 January.

Kavalski, E. (2019), 中东欧视点: 中国需面对“一带一路”带来的意外效应Grandview BRI Talk, 26 March.

Kavalski, E. (2019), China’s “16+1” Is Dead? Long Live the “17+1,” The Diplomat, 29 March.

Kavalski, E. (2019), The Unintended Effects of China’s Silk Roads in Central and Eastern EuropeCEIAS Insights, 9 June

Kavalski, E. and Mayer, M. (2019), China is Now a Power in Europe, but Fears of Interference in the EU are Simplistic and MisguidedThe Conversation, 22 March.

Kavalski, E. and Mayer, M. (2019), How to Make the Most of China’s Accidental Rise as European PowerThe South China Morning Post, 4 April.