Beyond hegemony: China-US rivalry in a multinodal world



13 October 2015


US Studies Centre

The US Studies Centre in conjunction with the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney hosted a roundtable discussion with Brantly Womack, Professor of Foreign Affairs at the University of Virgina and Miller Center C K Yen Chair, on the topic of Beyond Hegemony: China-US Rivalry in a Multinodal World.

About the event

With approximately equal masses of productivity and one-third of the world’s total, the relationship of the United States and China will remain the focus of global politics for the foreseeable future. However, neither the US nor China—nor the two together—can exercise the kind of hegemonic control that existed in earlier bipolar and unipolar eras. The diffuse interdependence created by globalisation gives every state broader alternatives and raises the cost of hostility. Cold War camps are unlikely to form. Despite seeming parity, the US and China do not face each other as hegemon and challenger, but rather as the largest players in a world that neither controls. Moreover, each faces the world with different strengths and challenges. As the primary nodes of a world order that they cannot dominate, the United States and China are likely to restrain their rivalry. If not, they will isolate themselves.


  • Professor Brantly Womack
    Professor of Foreign Affairs and CK Yen Chair of the Miller Centre, University of Virginia

    Brantly Womack visited the US Studies Centre in 2015. Womack is Professor of Foreign Affairs and CK Yen Chair of the Miller Centre at the University of Virginia. He is the author of several books, including Asymmetry and International Relationships (Cambridge University Press, 2015), as well as the author of over a hundred articles and book chapters. In 2011, Womack received the China Friendship Award for his work with Chinese universities. He holds honorary positions at Jilin University, East China Normal University, and Zhongshan (Sun Yat-Sen) University.