Chien-Kai Chen

Chien-Kai Chen

Associate Professor of International Studies, Chair

Dr. Chen's Curriculum Vitae


I regularly teach courses on China’s domestic politics and foreign relations as well as two introductory courses for international studies (Introduction to International Relations and Introduction to Comparative Politics). 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 PhD 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-US relations.



Political Economy of China-Taiwan Relations: Origins and Development (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2018).

Refereed Journal Articles

“China’s Debt Trap in Pakistan? A Case Study of the CPEC Project.” (Co-authored with Rizwan Shaikh). South Asia Research 41(3) (November 2021): 399-414.

“China in Latin America Then and Now: A Systemic Constructivist Analysis of China’s Foreign Policy.” Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 50(2) (August 2021): 111-136.

“China in the Middle East: An Analysis from a Theoretical Perspective of ‘Path Dependence’.” East Asia: An International Quarterly 38(2) (June 2021): 105-121.

“The Politics of Population Aging in Singapore and Taiwan: A Comparison.” (Co-authored with Jennifer Dabbs Sciubba). Asian Survey 57(4) (July/August 2017): 641-664.

“China in Africa: A Threat to African Countries?” Strategic Review for Southern Africa 38(2) (November 2016): 100-122.

“The Effect of International Relations on Cross-Border Economic Ties: A Case Study of Taiwan’s Economic Policies toward China.” International Journal of China Studies 7(1) (April 2016): 53-78.

“China-Taiwan Economic Ties and the 2012 Taiwanese Presidential Election.” American Journal of Chinese Studies 23(1) (April 2016): 77-96.

“China-Taiwan Relations Through the Lens of the Interaction Between China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation.” East Asia: An International Quarterly 31(3) (September 2014): 223-248.

“Comparing Jiang Zemin’s Impatience with Hu Jintao’s Patience Regarding the Taiwan Issue, 1989 – 2012.” Journal of Contemporary China 21(78) (November 2012): 955-972.

“The State-Society Interaction in the Process of Taiwan’s Democratization from 1990 to 1992.” East Asia: An International Quarterly 28(2) (June 2011): 115-134.

“China and Taiwan: A Future of Peace? A Study of Economic Interdependence, Taiwanese Domestic Politics, and Cross-Strait Relations.” Josef Korbel Journal of Advanced International Studies Issue 1 (Summer 2009): 14-25.

Book Reviews

“Book Review: Yun-Han Chu, Larry Diamond, and Kharis Templeman (eds.), Taiwan’s Democracy Challenged: the Chen Shui-bian Years.” American Journal of Chinese Studies 24(1) (April 2017): 62-64.

“Book Review: Peter Kien-Hong Yu, The Second Long March: Struggling Against the Chinese Communists Under the Republic of China (Taiwan) Constitution.” Journal of Chinese Political Science 16(3) (September 2011): 347-348.


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