Miller Center

Adam Liff

Politics, Princeton University

Shadowing the Hegemon? National Identity, Global Norms, and the Military Trajectories of Rising Powers

Liff photo

Adam Liff is Assistant Professor of East Asian International Relations in the School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University.

Professor Liff also serves as an Associate-in-Research at Harvard University's Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. His primary disciplinary fields of academic inquiry are international relations and security studies with a particular focus on contemporary security affairs in the Asia-Pacific region. Liff’s scholarship has been published or is forthcoming in International Security, Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of Strategic Studies, Security Studies, and The China Quarterly, and he has been cited widely in global media, including in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Reuters, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Financial Times, and The Economist. Other recent publications include several book chapters in edited volumes and articles published or forthcoming in Foreign Affairs, The Washington Quarterly, Foreign Policy, Asahi Shimbun, Asan Forum, The National Interest, The Diplomat, PacNet, and Asia-Pacific Bulletin. Professor Liff holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Politics from Princeton University and a B.A. from Stanford University.
 

Liff’s dissertation sought to develop a general theory of great power emergence by explaining variation in the military trajectories of rising powers in the modern era, past and present. By analyzing data gathered on seven cases of rising powers, including during eighteen months of field work in mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, and the United States, Liff argued against the prevailing materialist conventional wisdom that rising powers’ major strategic choices are in all cases shaped primarily by shrewd calculations of the state’s economic and security interests. Rather, he shows that in many cases of historical and theoretical significance, non-material variables—above all, national identity and prevailing contemporaneous global norms of appropriate ‘great power’ behavior—have powerful and independent effects on rising powers’ decisions about military policy.

Fellowship year: 2014

Mentor: Alastair Johnston, Harvard University

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