Publications

Forthcoming
Locating Mobile Sovereignty: Carthage in Natural Jurisprudence
Hansong Li. Forthcoming. “Locating Mobile Sovereignty: Carthage in Natural Jurisprudence.” History of Political Thought.Abstract
Whereas contemporary scholarship sees Carthage either as a Roman foil in Renaissance Humanist curricula or a symbol of commerce in Enlightenment discourses on trade, there is a significant, but so far unexplored theory of ancient Carthage as a mobile polity in early-modern political thought on the state between states. This paper argues that the reimagination of Carthage in natural jurisprudence enabled a shift in the intellectual history of empire in the era of overseas expansion, toward a political thought on the spatial fluidity of sovereignty. Furthermore, the afterlife of a mobile Carthage witnessed a transition in the language of political thinking from the martial to the economic virtue. This thread of political thinking, which ran from Bodin, Gentili to Rousseau but obtained the greatest interest and complexity in Grotius, turns to Carthage as a thought-experiment on the locality and mobility, times and spaces, continuity and expiry of states as sovereign peoples.
2021
The Space of the Sea in Montesquieu's Political Thought
Hansong Li. 10/1/2021. “The Space of the Sea in Montesquieu's Political Thought.” Global Intellectual History, 6, 4, Pp. 421-442. Publisher's VersionAbstract
From the scientific and literary expression ‘flux et reflux’ to the political and juridical language of the ‘citoyens du navire,’ the ocean as a physical and social space is a salient thread over time and across genres in Montesquieu's political thought. Amidst the high tides of maritime expansion and oceanic trade, Montesquieu's perspective of the sea, far from static, evolved along with the thinker. This essay for the first time uses the space of the sea to navigate Montesquieu's rhetorical choices, historical perspectives, and temporal-spatial concerns, by tracing maritime themes in Montesquieu's oeuvres both chronologically and thematically. It points out that Montesquieu's early-expressed interest in the sea tides, which arose in the oceanographic context in a Résomption (1720), morphed into political metaphors in the Lettres Persanes (1721), the Pensées and L’esprit des Lois (1748). And through his study of the actual seas during his journey in Italy, recorded in the Voyages, Montesquieu further advanced his thought on the sea as a significant site of social and political activity. The goal is to bring to the fore an underlying strain of thought that preoccupied Montesquieu's intellectual development, which may in turn better contextualise his political thought in its formation.
Ethics and Economics of Medical Supplies in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Hansong Li and Yifei Wu. 9/15/2021. “Ethics and Economics of Medical Supplies in the COVID-19 Pandemic.” European Scientific Journal, 17, 31, Pp. 87-138. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Background: The distribution of healthcare resources across local and global communities has triggered alarms throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Injustice and inefficiency in the transfer of lifesaving medical supplies are magnified by the urgency of the public health crisis, ramified through pre-existing socioeconomic tensions, and further aggravated by frictions that plague international cooperation and global governance. Aim: This article explores the ethical and economic dimensions of medical supplies, from the microcosm of distributive algorithms to the macroscope of medical trade. Methods: It first analyses the performance, strategy, and social responsibility of ventilator-suppliers through a series of case studies. Then, the authors seek to redress the need-insensitivity of existing distributive models with a new price-based and need-conscious algorithm. Next, the paper empirically traces the exchange of medical supplies across borders, examines the effect of trade disputes on medical reliance and pandemic preparedness, and makes a game-theoretical case for sharing critical resources with foreign communities. Conclusion: The authors argue that the equitable allocation of medical supplies must consider the contexts and conditions of need; that political barriers to medical transfers undermine a government’s capacity to contain the contagion by reducing channels of access to medical goods; and that self-interested public policies often turn out to be counterproductive geopolitical strategies. In the post-pandemic world, the prospect of medical justice demands a balanced ethical and economic approach that cuts across the borders of nation-states and the bounds of the private sector and the public sphere.
14682-article_text-42713-1-10-20210913.pdf
The Economy of Western Xia
Shi Jinbo and Hansong Li. 6/10/2021. The Economy of Western Xia. Leiden: Brill. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This is the first introduction to the economic history of the Tangut Empire (1038-1227). Built on a wealth of economic data and evidence, it studies the economic lives and activities, laws and institutions, trade and transactions in the “Great State White and High”. It interprets primary sources written in the mysterious Tangut cursive script: taxes, registers, and contracts, alongside archives, chronicles, and law codes. By weaving Song, Liao, and Jin materials with Khara-Khoto, Wuwei, and Dunhuang manuscripts into a historical narrative, the book offers a gateway to the outer shape and inner life of the Western Xia (Xixia) economy and society, and rethinks the Tanguts’ influence on the Hexi Corridor and the Silk Road.
The Indo-Pacific: Intellectual Origins and International Visions in Global Contexts
Hansong Li. 6/4/2021. “The Indo-Pacific: Intellectual Origins and International Visions in Global Contexts.” Modern Intellectual History, Pp. 1-27. Publisher's VersionAbstract

As the “Indo-Pacific” concept gains currency in public discourses on foreign policy, it remains poorly understood as an idea, due to inadequate surveys of its intellectual origins and international visions in global contexts. This paper studies Karl Haushofer’s theory of the “Indo-Pacific” as an organic and integral space primed for political consciousness. Haushofer not only laid the oceanographic foundation of the “Indo-Pacific” with novel evidence in marine sciences, ethnography, and philology, but also legitimated it as a social and political space. Mindful of Germany’s geopolitical predicament in the interwar period and informed by sources in Indology and Sinology, Haushofer envisaged the political resurrection of South, East, and Southeast Asia against colonial domination, and conceived the “Indo-Pacific” vision for remaking the international order.

li_hansong-the-indo-pacific-intellectual-origins-and-international-visions-in-global-contexts.pdf
2020
Tangut Language and Manuscripts: An Introduction
Jinbo Shi and Hansong Li. 6/2020. Tangut Language and Manuscripts: An Introduction. Leiden: Brill. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This book is the first comprehensive introduction to the Tangut language and culture. Five of the fiſteen chapters survey the history of Western Xia and the evolution of Tangut Studies, including new advancements in the field, such as research on the recently decoded Tangut cursive writings found in Khara-Khoto documents. The other ten chapters provide an introduction to the Tangut language: its origins, script, characters, grammars, translations, textual and contextual readings. In this synthesis of historical narratives and linguistic analysis, the renowned Tangutologist Shi Jinbo offers a guided access to the mysterious civilisation of the ‘Great State White and High’ to both a specialized and a general audience.
2019
Time, Right and the Justice of War and Peace in Hugo Grotius’s Political Thought
Hansong Li. 2019. “Time, Right and the Justice of War and Peace in Hugo Grotius’s Political Thought.” History of European Ideas, 45, 4, Pp. 536-552. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The juridical force of time forms a critical, but hitherto unexplored part of Hugo Grotius’s discourse on the justice of war and peace. Grotius defines war as a span of time in which disputed rights and armed conflicts between states are examined in reference to temporal coordinates. This method allows him to adjust otherwise static laws to meet the demands of times and spaces in an increasingly expanded world. In doing so, Grotius is also able to reconcile multiple layers of laws in a temporal framework, which suspends one layer of law, to be revived at later times. Finally, cautious in the use of the language of time, Grotius admits both that right demands immediacy, and that justice suffers delays. By this nexus of delay (mora) and emergency (necessitas), Grotius warns against the abuse of ‘time’ as a legal concept to justify unlawful claims, which still rings with alarm today.