• Governor James Albert Noe and Linda Noe Laine Professor of China in World Affairs
  • johnston@fas.harvard.edu
  • http://scholar.harvard.edu/aijohnston/home
  • CGIS North Building | 1737 Cambridge Street | Cambridge MA 20138

Research interests: socialization in international institutions; the analysis of identity in the social sciences; ideational sources of strategic choice, mostly with reference to China and East Asia.

Alastair Iain Johnston is the Gov. James Albert Noe and Linda Noe Laine Professor of China in World Affairs in the Government Department at Harvard University. He has written on socialization theory, identity and political behavior, and strategic culture, mostly with application to the study of East Asian international relations and Chinese foreign policy. Johnston is the author of Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History (Princeton 1995) and Social States: China in International Institutions, 1980-2000 (Princeton University Press, 2008), and is co-editor of Engaging China: The Management of an Emerging Power (Routledge 1999), New Directions in the Study of China’s Foreign Policy (Stanford 2006), Crafting Cooperation: Regional Institutions in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge 2007), Measuring Identity: A Guide for Social Scientists (Cambridge 2009), and Perception and Misperception in American and Chinese Views of the Other (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 2015).

From the Fairbank Blog: 

Three Contradictions in Trump’s China Policy (Thus Far), January 2017

From the Fairbank Podcast:

研究兴趣:国际组织的社会主义化;社会科学中的身份认同分析;策略性决策的观念来源,主要关于中国与东亚

Books and Monographs

China and Arms Control: Emerging Issues and Interests in the 1980s. (Ottawa, Center for Arms Control and Disarmament, Aurora Papers No. 3, 1986)

Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995) (Third edition, paperback, published in 1998; Chinese edition ⽂化现实主义:中国历史上的战略⽂化与⼤战略 published in 2015 by People’s Publishing House)

Social States: China in International Institutions, 1980-2000 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008)

Edited Books and Monographs

Engaging China: The Management of an Emerging Power (co-editor with Robert S. Ross) (London:
Routledge Press, 1999)

New Directions in the Study of China’s Foreign Policy (co-editor with Robert S. Ross) (Stanford: Stanford
University Press, 2006)

Crafting Cooperation: Regional Institutions in Comparative Perspective (co-editor with Amitav Acharya)
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Chinese-English English-Chinese Glossary on Nuclear Security Terms (as member of the editorial team
from the Committee on International Security and Arms Control and the Chinese Scientists Group for
Arms Control (Mianyang: Atomic Energy Press, 2008)

Measuring Identity: A Guide for Social Scientists (co-editor with Rawi Abdelal, Yoshiko Herrera, and Rose
McDemott) (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009)

"The Role of Violence in China's Strategic Thought" in C. Dennison Lane and Dimon Liu, eds., Conference Proceedings: Fourth Annual Conference on China's People's Liberation Army. (Washington,
American Enterprise Institute, 1993)

“Independence Through Unification: On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Across the Taiwan Straits” Contemporary Issues No. 2 (Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, September 1993)

"Thinking About Strategic Culture." International Security 19:4 (Spring 1995)

"China's New 'Old Thinking': The Concept of Limited Deterrence." International Security 20:3 (Winter 1995/6). Reprinted in Steven Miller et al, eds., East Asian Security: An International Security Reader (Cambridge MA, MIT Press, 1996)

"Learning Versus Adaptation: Explaining Change in Chinese Arms Control Policy." The China Journal. No.35 (January 1996)

"Cultural Realism and Strategy in Maoist China." in Peter J. Katzenstein ed., The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics (New York, Columbia University Press, 1996)

"Prospects for Chinese Nuclear Force Modernization: Limited Deterrence versus Multilateral Arms Control" The China Quarterly. (June 1996). Reprinted in David Shambaugh and Richard H. Yang eds.,China’s Military in Transition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997)

“Engaging Myths: Misconceptions About China and Its Global Role” Harvard Asia Pacific Review (1997/98)

“China’s Militarized Interstate Dispute Behavior, 1949-1992: A First Cut at the Data” The China Quarterly (March 1998)

“International Structures and Chinese Foreign Policy” in Samuel S. Kim, China and the World (4th Edition) (Boulder: Westview Press, 1998)

“China and International Environmental Institutions: A Decision Rule Analysis” in Michael McElroy, Chris P. Nielsen, and Peter Lydon eds., Energizing China: Reconciling Environmental Protection with Energy Demands of a Growing Economy. (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1998)

“Strategic Culture Revisited: Reply to Colin Gray” Review of International Studies 25 (July 1999)

“China and Arms Control Institutions” (with Michael D. Swaine) in Elizabeth Economy and Michel Oksenberg, eds., China Joins the World: Progress and Prospects (New York, Council on Foreign Relations, 1999)

“Realisms and Chinese Security Policy in the Post-Cold War Period” in Michael Mastanduno and Ethan Kapstein eds., Unipolar Politics: Realism and State Strategies after the Cold War (New York, Columbia University Press, 1999)

“The Myth of the ASEAN Way? Explaining the Evolution of the ASEAN Regional Forum” in Helga Haftendorn, Robert Keohane and Celeste Wallander eds., Imperfect Unions: Security Institutions in Time and Space (London: Oxford University Press, 1999)

“China’s Engagement in International Security Institutions” (with Paul Evans), in Alastair Iain Johnston and Robert S. Ross eds., Engaging China: The Management of an Emerging Power (London: Routledge Press, 1999)

“Conclusion” (with Robert S. Ross), in Alastair Iain Johnston and Robert S. Ross eds., Engaging China: The Management of an Emerging Power (London: Routledge Press, 1999)

《中国参与国际体制的若⼲思考》 [Some thoughts on China’s participation in international institutions) 世界经济与政治 [World economics and politics] (Beijing) No. 7 (July 1999)

“The Cox Report on Governance and Policy in China: Problems of Fact, Evidence, and Inference”, in Michael May ed., The Cox Committee Report: An Assessment, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University, (December 1999)

《美国学者对于中国与国际组织关系研究概述》 [A general explication of US scholarship concerning China's relationship with international organizations] 世界经济与政治 [World economics and politics] (Beijing) No. 8 (August 2001)

"Explaining Chinese Cooperation in International Security Institutions." In Deepa M. Ollapally ed.,Controlling Weapons of Mass Destruction: Findings from USIP-sponsored Projects (Washington DC: US Institute of Peace, September 2001)

"The Pros and Cons of Cooperation: Beijing Weighs its Options" Harvard Asia Quarterly 5:4 (Autumn 2001)

“Treating International Institutions as Social Environments” International Studies Quarterly 45:3 (December 2001)

“The Social Effects of International Institutions on Domestic (Foreign Policy) Actors” in Daniel Drezner ed., Locating the Proper Authorities: The Interaction of Domestic and International Institutions. (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2002)

《简论国际组织对国家⾏为的影响》[A sketch of theoretical research on the impact of international institutions on the behavior of states] 世界经济与政治 [World economics and politics] (Beijing) No. 12 (2002)

"Socialization in International Institutions: The ASEAN Way and International Relations Theory" in Michael Mastanduno and G. John Ikenberry eds., The Emerging International Relations of the AsiaPacific Region (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003)

《中国与国际组织:来⾃外部的观察》[China and international organizations: perspectives from outside China] in Wang Yizhou ed., 磨合中的建构:中国与国际组织关系的多视⾓透视 [Construction in contradiction: multi-dimensioned perspectives on China’s relations with international organizations] (Beijing: China Development Press, 2003)

“Is China a Status Quo Power?” International Security 27:4 (Spring 2003)

“Here’s How a Tiny Virus Can Help Improve Cross-strait Ties” (op-ed) The Straits Times (May 16, 2003) The State of International Relations Research in China: Considerations for the Ford Foundation (Beijing: Ford Foundation, 2003)

“The Correlates of Nationalism in Beijing Public Opinion” Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Singapore, Working Paper No 50. (2003)

"China’s International Relations: The Political and Security Dimensions" in Samuel S. Kim ed., Northeast Asia in World Politics (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003)

“Chinese Middle Class Attitudes Towards International Affairs: Nascent Liberalization?” The China Quarterly No. 179 (September, 2004)

“Beijing’s Security Behavior in the Asian-Pacific: Is China a Dissatisfied Power?” in Allen Carlson, Peter Katzenstein, and J.J. Suh, Rethinking Security in East Asia: Identity, Power and Efficiency (Stanford University Press, 2004)

“Conclusions and Extensions: Toward Mid-range Theorizing and Beyond Europe” International Organization 59:4 (September 2005)

“The Correlations of Beijing Opinion toward the United States, 1998-2004” in Alastair Iain Johnston and Robert S. Ross, editors, New Directions In the Study of China’s Foreign Policy (Stanford University Press, 2006)

“Conclusion” (with Thomas J. Christensen and Robert S. Ross) in Alastair Iain Johnston and Robert S. Ross, editors, New Directions In the Study of China’s Foreign Policy (Stanford University Press, 2006)

“Identity as a Variable” (with Rawi Abdelal, Yoshiko Herrera, and Rose McDermott) Perspectives on Politics 4:4 (December 2006)

中国外交政策研究:理论趋势及⽅法辨析[Trends in Theory and Method in the Study of Chinese Foreign Policy] 世界经济与政治 [World Economics and Politics], No. 8 (2006) pp.64-73

“Chinese Attitudes toward the United States and Americans” (with Daniela Stockmann) in Peter Katzenstein and Robert Keohane, editors, Anti-Americanisms and World Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007)

“Comparing Regional Institutions: An Introduction” (with Amitav Acharya) in Amitav Acharya and Alastair Iain Johnston eds., Crafting Cooperation: Regional Institutions in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

“Conclusion: Institutional Features, Cooperation Effects and the Agenda for Further Research on Comparative Regionalism” (with Amitav Acharya) in Amitav Acharya and Alastair Iain Johnston eds., Crafting Cooperation: Regional Institutions in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

“Measuring Identity: Conceptual and Methodological Issues” (with Rawi Abdelal, Yoshiko Hererra and Rose McDermott) in Rawi Abdelal, Yoshiko Hererra, Alastair Iain Johnston and Rose McDermott eds., Measuring Identity:

A Guide for Social Scientists (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) “Is China Rising?” (with Sheena Chestnut) in Eva Paus, Penelope Prime, Jon Western eds., Is China Changing the Rules of the Game? (New York: Palgrave MacMillan 2009)

“Measuring Identity Content and Comparing Social Identities” (with Yoshiko Herrera, Rose McDermott and Rawi Abdelal) Qualitative & Multi-Method Research (Spring 2009) pp. 41-45

“Stability and Instability in Sino-US Relations: A Response to Yan Xuetong's Superficial Friendship Theory” The Chinese Journal of International Politics (2011) 4: 5-29

《中国的崛起: 对概念运⽤的探讨》(China’s rise: an investigation of the uses of a concept) (with Sheena Chestnut) 中国国际战略评论 2001 (Beijing World Affairs Press, 2011)

“What (If Anything) Does East Asia Tell Us About International Relations Theory? Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 15 (2012) pp.53-78

“How New and Assertive is China’s New Assertiveness” International Security 37:4 (Spring 2013) pp. 7-48

“Chinese Signaling in the East China Sea?” (with M. Taylor Fravel) The Washington Post (The Monkey Cage blog), April 12, 2014.

“Anti-Foreigner Propaganda is not Spiking in China” The Washington Post (The Monkey Cage blog) December 2, 2014.

“The Tea Party and China Policy” in Alastair Iain Johnston and Shen Mingming eds., Perception and Misperception in American and Chinese Views of the Other (Washington DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2015)

“The Evolution of Interstate Security Crisis-Management Theory and Practice in China” Naval War College Review 69:1 (Winter 2016).

“Is Chinese Nationalism Rising? Evidence from Beijing” International Security 41(3) (Winter 2016)

“Does Chinese Exceptionalism Undermine China’s Foreign Policy Interests?” in Jennifer Rudolph and Michael Szonyi, eds., China Questions (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 2017 forthcoming)

“Can China Back Down? Crisis De-Escalation in the Shadow of Popular Opposition” (with Kai Quek)
International Security (forthcoming 2017/18)

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies