Dr Siyuan Li

Dr Siyuan Li


After graduating in Education and obtaining a national teaching certificate in Politics from China's Shaanxi Normal University, I was selected to attend the University of Leeds & Shaanxi Normal University Special Entry Scheme to pursue a Master's Degree in Professional Language and Intercultural Studies (MAPLIS) at the University of Leeds. After obtaining the Master's degree, I taught English for two years in China before I came back to the University of Leeds and embarked on my PhD research in the Department of East Asian Studies and the Centre for International Business. 

My PhD project aims to ascertain how language, culture and other forms of intangible power resources could be made to assist a country to obtain the preferred outcomes in international relations. Through the case study of China's language and culture promotion organisation the Confucius Institute (CI) in four African countries, together with the comparative studies of EU countries' equivalent organisations in Africa including the UK's British Council, France's Alliance Française, and Germany's Goethe Institute, I argue that the CI plays a positive role in creating a Community of Common Destiny and in promoting China's national interest in Africa and China-Africa relations. 

The theoretical framework of my PhD thesis was formulated in the discourse of power in international relations. I identified and critiqued the deficiencies of existing understanding of language and culture promotion organisations, which adopts a soft power or public diplomacy perspective, and applied a Foucauldian approach to propose a new two dimensional power analytical framework.

Research interests

My research interests include International Language and Culture Promotion Organisations (especially China's Confucius Institute), Foucault's conception of power/knowledge, power in international relations, and China-Africa Relations.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, International Relations, University of Leeds
  • MA, Professional Language and Intercultural Studies, University of Leeds
  • BA, Education & Teaching Certificate in Politics, Shaanxi Normal University

Professional memberships

  • British Association for Chinese Studies
  • White Rose East Asian Centre (WREAC)
  • National Institute of Chinese Studies (NICS)

Research groups and institutes

  • East Asian Studies