Chien-Kai Chen | Assistant Professor
Office: Buckman 113 | Phone: (901) 843-3825 | Email:




I regularly teach courses on China’s domestic politics and foreign relations as well as an introductory course on international relations. In the near future, I will offer more courses with regard to the domestic politics and international relations of Asian countries. When I teach, I emphasize both learning and thinking. According to Confucius, one of the greatest teachers in East Asia, learning without thinking leads to confusion, while thinking without learning results in fruitlessness. Therefore, every time I enter my classroom, I ask myself to teach not only by providing my students with specific knowledge but also by encouraging them to think through and use the knowledge they learn. Keeping this in mind, I like to present my students with the abstract concepts and theories related to a certain topic first and then discuss with them the real-world cases about that topic, encouraging them to explain those cases with the concepts and theories they have just encountered. In addition, I like to have my students write short papers to analyze the most important political or economic events that we are seeing in our world today and/or ask them to develop their own research projects to explore the topics they are interested in.





I enjoy doing research as much as teaching. Focusing on the region of East Asia, my research interests bridge international relations and comparative politics with regard to that region. In general, I seek to contribute to international relations debates by making use of concepts and methods from comparative politics, and vice versa. This research approach is reflected in my Ph.D. dissertation which deals with China-Taiwan relations: it investigates the mutual effect between China-Taiwan relations and Taiwan’s domestic politics by taking both the domestic and international levels into account. Beyond my dissertation, I have also been doing research on several topics concerning comparative politics and/or international relations such as democratization, civil society, state-society interactions, the rise of China, China’s foreign policy, and China-Taiwan-U.S. relations.


2013, Ph.D. in Political Science, Boston University

2007, M.A. in Political Science, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

2003, B.A. in Political Science, National Taiwan University, Taiwan


International Studies 100: Introduction to International Relations

International Studies 261: Government and Politics of China

International Studies 262: China’s Foreign Policy