December 9, 2018

Maria Adele Carrai gave a taped TED talk in NYC December 2018. Video of talk forthcoming. 


The talk was given in advance of Dr. Carrai's forthcoming book: 

Book Bio:

This book provides a comprehensive history of the emergence and the formation of the concept of sovereignty in China from the year 1840 to the present. It contributes to broadening the history of modern China by looking at the way the notion of sovereignty was gradually articulated by key Chinese intellectuals, diplomats and political figures in the unfolding of the history of international law in China, rehabilitates Chinese agency and shows how China challenged Western Eurocentric assumptions about the progress of international law. It puts the history of international law in a global perspective, interrogating the widely-held belief of international law as universal order and exploring the ways in which its history is closely anchored to a European experience that fails to take into account how the encounter with other non-European realities has influenced its formation. (

Dr. Carrai Bio:

Maria Adele was trained as a sinologist and political scientist in Italy (La Sapienza University, Ca’ Foscari University, University of Bologna), the UK (SOAS, Erasmus) and China (University of Hong Kong, CUPL). After receiving her PhD in 2016 at the University of Hong Kong, she held a Max Weber Fellowship at the European University Institute of Florence (2015-17) and was a Global Hauser Fellow at the New York University Law School (2016-17) and a visiting scholar at Columbia University (2017).

Her manuscript “A Genealogy of Sovereignty in Modern China from 1840” looks at how Chinese intellectuals, political figures and diplomats articulated the notion of sovereignty in their foreign policy during the period in question. The study in contract with Cambridge University Press for publication, reveals how China, in deviating from the teleology imposed by the West and actively appropriating and manipulating Western international legal norms, has emerged as a key actor in the globalization of international law.

Maria Adele’s general research interests include international law and relations, Western and Chinese legal and political philosophy, legal history, Chinese foreign policy. She is a native speaker of Italian, is fluent in Chinese and French, and has a basic knowledge of Japanese and Arabic.