The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Student Profiles

Ariel Shangguan
Ariel Shangguan

The Translation of Politics and the Politics of Translation: International Relations in the Thirdspace

This thesis examines the temporal-spatial conditionality of political concepts and its translation into Chinese discourse. Specifically, it compares and contrasts Kenneth Waltz's Theory of International Politics with its Chinese editions and assesses how some key realist concepts used in the discipline of International Politics have become both transformed and transformative in the process of translation. Borrowing insights from Reinhart Koselleck's conceptual history and Karl Mannnheim's stylistic approach to the sociology of knowledge, this study argues that the Chinese interpretation of Waltz’s book based on the conceptually transformed terminologies is likely to result in the formation of a new style of thought regarding international politics which is different from the one Waltz intended for his book and which, too, is distinct to its own temporalities. In doing so, this thesis hi ghlights the importance of the interrogation of the role translation plays in shaping one's understanding of international politics.


  • Shangguan, A. (forthcoming). Power, 权力and 力量: The Problem of Intentionality in Translation. in Grasten, M. L., Capan, G. and Reis, F. D. (ed). The Politics of Translation in International Relations: Practice, Performativity, and Epistemic Struggles. London: Palgrave Macmillan 
  • Watanabe, A. & Shangguan, A. (2018 forthcoming). How did two Daos interpret the “International” differently? in Roesch, F. and Watanabe, A. (ed). Modern Japanese Political Thought and International Relations: Encountering Difference in Japan since the 19th Century. London: Rowman & Littlefield
  • Shangguan, Ariel. (2015). Book Review: Can Non-Europeans Think? Essays on Overcoming Postcoloniality. Marx & Philosophy Review of Books


  • December 2017: Genealogies of Knowledge 1: Translating Political and Scientific Thought Across Time and Space, the University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  • November 2017: Imaginaries of Connectivity and the Making of Novel Spaces of Governance, the University of Gronigen, Gronigen, Netherlands 
  • August 2017: The Politics of Translation in International Relations, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • April 2017: World International Studies Committee’s (WISC) 5th Global International Studies Conference 2017, Taipei, Taiwan
  • January 2017: New England Association for Asian Studies (NEAAS) Conference, Boston College, Boston, US
  • September 2016: Joint East Asian Studies Conference (JEAS), SOAS, London, UK
  • August 2016: Modern Japanese Political Thought and International Relations, Kakunodate, Japan
  • September 2015: Ideas on the Move. S wedish University of Agricultural Science, Alnarp, Sweden
  • June 2015: Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Conference 2015, the University of Split, Split, Croatia


  • POL1045 Truth Lies and Politics
  • POL1032 Introduction to International Politics
  • POL2082 Political Violence and the Modern State

Qualifications and Achievements

  • 2014-2018 Newcastle University, PhD International Politics
  • 2013-2014 London School of Economics and Political Science, MSc International Relations 
  • 2009-2012 Newcastle University, BA (Hons) Media, Communication and Cultural Studies