Alumni (National Fellow)

Adam Liff

National Fellow
B.A. Stanford University (2005)
M.A. Princeton University (2011)
Ph.D. Princeton University (2014)
Professional Sector:
Dream Mentor:
Alastair Johnston
Harvard University
Fields of Interest:
Foreign Policy
International Relations
National Security Policy
Region: Asia-Pacific


Adam P. Liff is an assistant professor of East Asian international relations in Indiana University’s School of Global and International Studies (EALC), and director of its 21st Century Japan Politics and Society Initiative (21JPSI). He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, as well as an Associate-in-Research at Harvard University’s Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Adam’s primary disciplinary fields are international relations and security studies, with a particular focus on contemporary politics and security affairs in the Asia-Pacific region (esp. Japan, China, and the United States). His scholarship has been published in Asia Policy, The China Quarterly, International Security, Japanese Journal of Political Science, Japanese Studies, Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of Strategic Studies, Security Studies, Texas National Security Review, and The Washington Quarterly. Adam holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Politics from Princeton University and a B.A. from Stanford University.

Thesis Description:

Shadowing the Hegemon? National Identity, Global Norms, and the Military Trajectories of Rising Powers
Liff’s dissertation develops 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.

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