Research interests

East Asian international relations

Issues of sovereignty and security (including alliance politics, territorial disputes, historical memory and conflict, etc.)

Nationalism and national identity politics

The role of language in legitimacy politics

Conceptual history and concept analysis

Anti-American and anti-Great-Power sentiments in Asia

Globalization and security

Immigration politics and policy in East Asia (Japan and Korea)



Sovereignty and Status in East Asian International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

My book  provides a theoretical and empirical analysis of a key concept in East Asian security debates, sovereign autonomy, and how it reproduces hierarchy in the regional order. By utilizing a combination of the comparative case study and conceptual history methods, the book examines the sources of the durability of hierarchical orders. The central argument presented in the book is that international hierarchy serves as a frame of reference for contests of political legitimacy in non-dominant states. It is through such domestic legitimacy politics that hierarchical orders endure beyond the coercive capabilities of the dominant power. The condition of international hierarchy, I contend, is a powerful worldview and socio-political context that has continued to shape and constrain the rhetorical possibilities of legitimacy-seeking leaders in Japan and Korea. The book’s case studies describe moments of important shifts in Japan-U.S. and South Korea-U.S. alliance relations but also identify a deeper pattern of continuity in foreign policy debates in the region. By doing so, the book provides a more complex and nuanced picture of the origins and development of enduring ideational structures in East Asian international relations.

Selected Publications & Papers

  • The diffusion of political violence in nineteenth century East Asia

 “The Sino-Japanese War, 1894-1895,” in Stephen Haggard and David Kang, eds., East Asia in the World: Twelve Events that Shaped the Modern International Order(Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

  • Sovereignty and security issues in East Asia

“Changing Definitions of Sovereignty in Nineteenth Century East Asia,” Journal of East Asian Studies 13, 2 (May-August 2013): 281-307.

“The Rise of China and Varieties of Regionalism: Contesting Autonomy and Integration in East Asia” (with Il Hyun Cho), Review of International Studies 40, 3 (July 2014): 583-606.

“Small States and the Search for Sovereignty in Sinocentric Asia: Japan and Korea in the Late Nineteenth Century,” in Negotiating Asymmetry: China’s Place in an Asymmetric Asia, edited by Anthony Reid and Zheng Yangwen (Singapore: National University of Singapore Press and University of Hawaii Press, 2009).

  • Ideational sources of foreign policy

“Rhetorical Entrapment and the Politics of Alliance Cooperation: Explaining Divergent Outcomes in Japan and South Korea during the Iraq War,” International Relations 31, 4 (December 2017): 484-510.

“The Rise of China and Anti-Great-Power Sentiments in Southeast Asia” (with Il Hyun Cho), Strategic Studies Quarterly 7, 3 (Summer 2013): 69-92.

“Anti-Chinese and Anti-Japanese Sentiments in East Asia: The Politics of Opinion, Distrust, and Prejudice,” (with Il Hyun Cho)Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Autumn 2011): 265-290.

  • Globalization and the politics of immigration

“Between Globalization and Nationalism: The Politics of Immigration in South Korea,” Asian Perspective 41, 3 (July-September 2017): 377-402.


Other Works in Progress

“Anti-American or Anti-Great Power? The Unexceptionalism of Anti-Americanism in Korean Politics.”

“The Politics of Immigration in Japan and Korea.”

“Economic Influence Strategies and the Russo-Japanese Territorial Dispute.”

“Influence of Foreign Military Presence on National Identity Development: The Case of Germany and South Korea” (with Stephanie Hofmann).

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