Ours is not an effort to chase the headlines. Instead, we seek to bring together scholars whose research considers how the BRI is reconfiguring social, cultural, and political forces across Asia and Eurasia in sometimes expected and sometimes surprising ways.
Our scope is enormous, with a geographic purview that ranges from Western Europe and the Caucasus to Central Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Our thematic purview is equally broad: we are primarily interested in changes in migration, labour relations, and social mobilization, but we recognize that the BRI is generating a wide array of other transformations whose contours will become clearer over the span of years and decades.
Precisely because the impact of the BRI crosses so many thematic, geographic, and disciplinary boundaries, our platform seeks to bring together the widest array of scholars working on relevant topics. We especially invite scholars and policy makers (1) to take stock of our offerings, as they consider the varied impacts the BRI is setting in motion across a vast swathe of the globe.
Our blog will include contributions from a variety of scholars from a wide range of disciplines. They will be united in considering what we are calling the downstream effects of the BRI.(2) Whereas a vast body of work is already grappling with the BRI’s tremendously important initial developments —including investment deals, bilateral agreements, debt negotiations, and infrastructure projects—our platform develops another focus. Specifically, we want to understand how these BRI-led dynamics are playing out for the people most affected. Blog entries will be of three principal types. First, analytic moments will include contributions from scholars, based on their research, that provide frameworks for analyzing emergent changes, “plausibility probes” of arguments about the BRI’s downstream effects, and agendas for conducting further research. Second, dispatches from the field are posts from scholars that provide glimpses of changes becoming evident in BRI-affected contexts. Finally, policy memos are the place for scholars to propose evidence-based policy interventions designed to address one or another challenge that the BRI poses.