Question of Perspective
Question of Perspective
Nadine Godehardt

Nadine Godehardt 高亭亭

How we write, talk or imagine - in this way or another - reveals the always pressing question of the chosen perspective. These perspectives are the very core of my interest in international politics, China studies, creative writing and photo-essays. Revealing and analyzing these perspectives as well as developing my own view in the process describes the very core of my work.


My interest in China clearly had an influence on this often tiring work of trying out new ways of understanding while also accepting that your own view of things - the views you learn at the university but also in life - are not the only ones out there. A simple truth but simple things are usually the most difficult ones to acknowledge.


China - I was never in any way fascinated by Asian or Chinese culture except watching Bruce Lee movies with my brother when I was a child which definitely had a greater impact on him - at least when we were young. I had - so to say - nothing to start with. I simply travelled to Taipei in 2001, stayed a month and realized that I really wanted to come back. My exchange year in Nanjing (2003-04) really showed me then that my readings in Political Science, Philosophy and Sinology really did make sense when being in China. I came back with more questions than answers and I used every tool I knew (poems, photos, research) to express my thoughts.


Around that time I developed the idea of an IR that is not limited by rules, methods, certain understandings of what science should stand for, limited theoretical approaches and last but not least which regards differences as a problem. However, I also knew that I had to walk the walk to reach a position from where I can further develop my idea of an "entangled IR" in which researchers do not only emphasize the boundaries between different subdivisions of political sciences, different theoretical approaches or the gaps between different disciplines. 


I've written my master thesis about the Chinese Meaning of Just War spending two months at Beijing University discussing with mostly researchers of the philosophy department what "Just War" - one of the most determined notions in Western Philosophy of law - could mean to Chinese philosophers. And I learned a lot! Particularly - and again - about how I am influenced by the German way of studying and searching for truth but also that our differences are not insourmountable. Differences are expression of contingency and in my case they do not exist to be finally closed or grounded. They are there to remain empty. My understanding of this aspect and, more importantly, its consequences for my research and life took me another four years (or all years of my doctoral studies) to realize. My Ph.D. is about the Chinese Constitution of Central Asia but mainly the book is about regions and what "the rise or rejuvenation of Asia or China" actually means for our understanding of world regions.


This website is my new project. It shows a lot of the work I produced while working my way through my dissertation. I not only focus on pushing the role of poetry in science but I also strongly believe that photo-essays are going to be part of my future research. This will mainly deal with the questions how Chinese see (or are made to see) China, how we (I) see (or are made to see) China and how Chinese see (or are made to see) us. My future interests will also include many impressions of my new work at a think tank (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik) in Berlin which in many regards is exactly the "grey zone" where I like to position myself. Somewhere in-between and still searching for the many perspectives I haven't even recognized yet.


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