What are you looking for?

17 May. - 18 May. 2022
09:00 - 17:15
Korte Spinhuissteeg 3
Conference Room

Authoritarian Soft Power

NIAS is hosting a workshop on Authoritarian Soft Power organised by current fellow Julia Bader, who is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam.


Day 1: Tuesday May 17
9:00 – 9:30  Welcome and introduction

9:30 – 11:00  Panel 1: Inward looking communication, rhetoric and narratives

  • Obert Hodzi (chair); Sebastian Hellmeier (discussant)
  • Jakob Tolstrup: Public Support for Military Intervention in Autocracies
  • Marianne Kneuer: Managing the media and shaping the messages. Soft power mechanisms of authoritarian regimes for gaining discursive hegemony

11:00 – 11:15  Tea and coffee break

11:15 – 12:45 Panel 3: Chinese Soft Power Projections in Asia and the Middle East

  • Neil Loughlin (chair); Thomas Ambrosio (discussant)
  • Mohamad Forough: Infrastructure, History, and Authoritarian Soft Power: Chinese Soft Power in West Asia
  • Julia Gurol: Thinking beyond the ‘material’ in the study of global authoritarianism: China’s narrative power-play and the transregional diffusion of narratives to the Gulf

12:45 – 13:45  Lunch (provided by NIAS)

13:45 – 15:15 Panel 2: Soft power or sharp power?

  • Marianne Kneuer (chair); Neil Loughlin (discussant)
  • Rachel Vanderhill: Digital authoritarianism and Russian and Chinese use of “sharp power”
  • Obert Hodzi: Soft power through proxies? An exploration of the localisation of Chinese soft power in Zimbabwe

15:15 – 15:30  Tea and coffee break

15:30 – 17:00 Panel 4: Outside reactions to authoritarian attraction

  • Sonja Grimm (chair); Julia Bader (discussant)
  • Thomas Ambrosio: From Soft Power Economic Challenge to Hard Power Geopolitical Threat: Tracing America’s Securitization of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.”
  • Sebastian Hellmeier: Travel for Autocracy? How International Mass Tourism Affects the Prospects of Democratization

17:00 – 17:15  Day 1 Closing and finish

Day 2: Wednesday May 18

9:00 – 10:30  Panel 5: Authoritarian democracy proofing

  • Julia Bader (chair); Rachel Vanderhill (discussant)
  • Sonja Grimm: Authoritarian Soft Power and the Handeling of Pro-democracy Movements
  • Alexander Dukalskis: Authoritarian Snapback: How Dictatorships Tame the Spread of Liberal Ideas

10:30 – 10:45  Tea and coffee break

10:45 – 12:15  Panel 6: Conceptual issues and possible outputs

  • Thomas Ambrosio (chair); Jakob Tolstrup (discussant)
  • Julia Bader/Neil Loughlin;

12:15 – 12:30  Closing of the workshop


Thomas Ambrosio            North Dakota State University
Julia Bader                           University of Amsterdam
Alex Dukalskis                   University College Dublin
Mohamad Forough          German Institute for Global and Area Studies
Sonja Grimm                       University of Konstanz
Julia Gurol                            University of Freiburg
Sebastian Hellmeier        WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Obert Hodzi                         University of Liverpool
Marianne Kneuer              Technische Universität Dresden
Neil Loughlin                      City University of London
Jakob Tolstrup                    Aarhus University
Rachel Vanderhill              Wofford College


This workshop is for invited participants. If you are interested in attending, please contact secretary@nias.knaw.nl.