L. H. M. Ling
Born(1955-11-14)November 14, 1955
DiedOctober 1, 2018(2018-10-01) (aged 62)
Known forWorldism political theory
Academic background
Alma materWellesley, MIT
Academic work
DisciplineInternational relations
InstitutionsThe New School

L. H. M. "Lily" Ling (14 November 1955 – 1 October 2018) was a political theorist and scholar whose work focused around the theory of worldism within international relations. Much of her work draws from storytelling, the arts, and non-Western culture to present alternative versions of historical analysis of global affairs.[1] She was Professor of International Affairs at The New School at the time of her death.[2]


She graduated from Wellesley College, and from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Ph.D. She held academic positions at University of Texas at Austin, Syracuse University, Cornell University, and International Institute of Social Studies before joining the faculty at The New School in 2002 as an associate professor with the Graduate Program in International Affairs. She was an editorial board member for Politics & Gender and for International Political Sociology, and an associate editor for International Feminist Journal of Politics.[3]

In 2018, she was awarded the Eminent Scholar distinction by the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies section of the International Studies Association.[4] Ling died on 1 October 2018, of stroke complications.[5]


Ling was the lead advocate for worldism, a theory of international relations. Worldism posits that the dominant geopolitical order, defined as the Westphalian world/Western IR, is a singular social construction that interacts competitively and creatively with 'other worlds' – other social and political orders.[6] The theory itself blends together insights from Taoism, feminism, postcolonialism, and social constructivism to critique the militaristic focus of contemporary international relations and realist analysis of it.

Doaism's yin-yang diagram, a physical representation of the dialectic basis for worldism

The theory bases itself in Daoist dialectics to complicate the totality of Western IR and pose it as the yang element within a dialectic construction. In comparison, Ling draws upon the arts and soft power to represent yin. Together, both "co-create, co-govern, and co-exercise power."[6] Ling encourages others to explore within the creative power of yin to challenge the yang of dominant IR narratives to create new worlds, thus fulfilling the prophecy of worldism in the dialogue of various worlds within one another.



Other publications

Ling, L.H.M (2017) “World Politics in Colour” in Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 45(3) pp. 473–491. Accessible: https://doi.org/10.1177/0305829817703192

Ling's publications have appeared in International Feminist Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, International Studies Review, Journal of Peace Research, Millennium, positions: east Asia cultures critique, Review of International Political Economy, Review of Politics, as well as various edited volumes.


  1. ^ Ling, L.H.M. (2014). Imagining world politics : Sihar & Shenya, a fable for our times. New York. ISBN 9780415718844. OCLC 856054442.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  2. ^ "Remembering L.H.M. Ling". Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs. Retrieved 2019-03-24.
  3. ^ "LHM Ling" (PDF). newschool.edu. 4 March 2016. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ gpia2017 (2018-10-26). "In Memoriam: L.H.M. (Lily) Ling". Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs. Archived from the original on 2019-03-24. Retrieved 2019-03-24.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "In Memoriam: Liliy Ling". PS: Political Science & Politics. 52 (4): 780–782. October 2019. doi:10.1017/S1049096519001434.
  6. ^ a b Ling, L. H. M. (8 February 2013). "Worlds beyond Westphalia: Daoist dialectics and the 'China threat'". Review of International Studies. 39 (3): 560. doi:10.1017/S026021051200054X. ISSN 0260-2105.