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Geopolitics and global democracy in Owen Lattimore's political thought

Rosenboim, O. (2014). Geopolitics and global democracy in Owen Lattimore's political thought. International History Review, 36(4), pp. 745-766. doi: 10.1080/07075332.2013.828641


This article analyses the international thought of the US sinologist and political advisor Owen Lattimore (1900-89). A well-known expert on China and the Far East, Lattimore was a public intellectual and advisor to Chiang Kai-shek and Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1950, after Senator Joseph McCarthy accused him of Soviet espionage, Lattimore's reputation was irrevocably damaged and his political thought forgotten. By assessing his visions of global democracy and geopolitics, this article claims Lattimore made insightful contributions to international thought. On the eve of the cold war, Lattimore's ideas of pluralistic democracy and tripolar world order offered an alternative vision of the post-war era, focusing on political participation and diversity. This article focuses on Lattimore's published writings in the 1940s, when, as political advisor and director of the Johns Hopkins Page School of International Relations, he sought to shift international attention from Europe to the Far East as the potential birthplace of a new version of post-colonial democracy. A fervent anti-imperialist, Lattimore crafted new political space for global democracy in a post-imperial age. His thoughtful discussion of participation, co-operation, democracy, knowledge, and pluralism make his vision of world order an interesting contribution to international thought in the twentieth century.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International History Review on 24 Sept 2013, available online:
Publisher Keywords: geopolitics, intellectual history, democracy, world order, history of political thought
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
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