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Deadline: October 15, 2021


Speaking in Kazakhstan at Nazarbayev University in September 2013, China’s President Xi Jinping proposed to “jointly build an economic belt along the Silk Road” through enhanced regional cooperation. His initial proposal called for policy coordination among Eurasian nations, infrastructure investments, increased trade, efforts to improve currency convertibility and people-to-people exchanges. In a speech in Indonesia the following month Mr. Xi introduced the notion of the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road.” These initiatives became known as One Belt, One Road, and ultimately evolved into the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Currently 140 countries across Eurasia, Africa and Latin America have signed MoUs with China confirming their intent to participate in the BRI. China has become a leader in infrastructure finance and construction worldwide, and the BRI now comprises a series of terrestrial and maritime development corridors underpinned by massive investments in transportation and logistics infrastructure. Meanwhile, its scope has expanded and it now includes digital, health, education and environmental components. In sum, the BRI signals China’s arrival on the world’s stage as a great power and the emergence of a multipolar international order.

The BRI has attracted significant scholarly attention. Researchers have theorized the BRI as a novel mode of integration that underpins 21st century globalization, explored its financial arrangements and patterns of Chinese FDI, examined its impact on trade and development and evaluated its geopolitical implications and role in shaping a new world order. Furthermore, a rapidly growing body of grounded scholarship focuses on the BRI’s emergent geographies in a host of places and at multiple scales.

This special issue will build on this research and its publication in 2023 will offer the opportunity to consolidate scholarship and evaluate the first decade of the BRI. In addition to making assessments, contributions should show how the BRI has evolved in the course of the past decade and explain why (e.g., learning among Chinese policy makers, responses from participant countries, China’s changing domestic politics, the dynamic international geoeconomic and geopolitical environment, the Covid-19 pandemic, etc.). Contributors are encouraged to speak across disciplines and avoid the use of jargon. The target audience is not limited to a specific discipline or area studies experts, rather, authors should imagine they are writing for a well-informed scholarly audience interested in the first ten years of the BRI.

Submissions should focus on themes rather than case studies, that may include but are not limited to:

  • International trade, global production networks, regional and international economic development, structural transformation and industrialization, sociological and societal dimensions of development including the implications of China’s own evolving path and domestic politics (e.g., dual circulation, Made in China 2025, China Standards 2035);
  • Financing for BRI projects and implications for the architecture of international finance including the role of existing multilateral institutions as well as the (geo-)politics and geo-economics of debt.
  • Geography and geoeconomic/geopolitical drivers of participation in the BRI including its relations to international diplomacy and governance, the role of international organizations such as the World Bank, European Union, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Eurasian Economic Union, 16 plus 1, ASEAN, Asian Development Bank and so on.
  • Policy transfer, the transfer of spatial planning models from China throughout the BRI, hybridity and policy models (e.g., metropolitan planning, SEZs, corridors).
  • The Digital (both hardware and software, standards and governance) and the Health Silk Roads in an age of COVID-19 and pandemic control.
  • Environmental governance, resource extraction, the influence of ‘Ecological Civilization’ on the BRI, a Green Silk Road, climate change governance.
  • People-to-people exchanges (education, cultural exchanges, etc.), geocultural influence of the BRI (e.g., ‘community of shared destiny for mankind’);
  • Implications of the BRI for international security (and security within the BRI), stabilization and development of borderlands.
  • Methods of dispute settlement/resolution, law and conflict management.
  • The response/strategies of countries participating in the BRI.
  • Influence of BRI on the social structures and societies of participant countries (e.g., the growth/emergence of a Sino-centric transnational class).


Submission Guidelines and timelin

Please send your paper proposal (between 1,000-3,000 words) to Seth Schindler ( by October 15, 2021.

Notification about further consideration of contributions will be given by November 1, 2021.

Final papers will be due February 1, 2022. Upon submission, all papers will undergo the journal’s usual peer review process, and those that are accepted will be published online upon acceptance. The special issue will be published in a printed issue in early 2023.

Please send questions to


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