Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication and Rhetorical Studies


Phillips, Kendall


COVID-19 Pandemic, cultural studies, Postcolonialism, Public health

Subject Categories

Communication | International Relations | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Speech and Rhetorical Studies


In my thesis, I examine how the Chinese government developed postcolonial apologia throughout its dispute with the US government over policies related to COVID-19. I focus on the shifting rhetorical strategies used by the Chinese government to defend China from accusations by other nations, especially the US. I determine that the Chinese government's response to the Western accusation during the COVID-19 pandemic progressively shifted from participating in the Western system to questioning Western centralization and adding Chinese interpretations to the existing world order. I argue that China's self-defense strategies altered in light of the changing geopolitical context and became more assertive and confrontational towards Western nations. The more aggressive version of this stance is what I have termed, "postcolonial apologia," which I define as a self-defense rhetoric used by non-Western nations against the West accusations. Specifically, non-Western nations use postcolonial apologia to openly resist the colonial legacy of the Western-dominated world order, point out its dominance, and question its universality.


Open Access



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