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Jason Kelly

Dr Jason Kelly

Senior Lecturer in International Relations

School of Law and Politics

+44 29206 88820
Law Building, Room 3.06B, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX


I am a historian of modern China with interests in Chinese foreign relations, U.S.-China relations, trade, security, diplomacy, and East Asian international relations.

Before joining the faculty at Cardiff University, I was an assistant professor in the Strategy & Policy Department at the U.S. Naval War College. Prior to becoming a historian, I was a U.S. foreign service officer and worked in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. 

My first book, Market Maoists: The Communist Origins of China's Capitalist Ascent, was published by Harvard University Press in 2021. 


I am broadly interested in China in the world and East Asian international relations, with a focus on Chinese foreign relations from the Cold War to the present. My research adopts international and interdisciplinary approaches to analyze Chinese foreign relations, a reflection of my multidisciplinary training and overseas experience. 



  • International Politics in the Nuclear Age
  • China in the World
  • International Relations of the Cold War


I joined the Department of Politics and International Relations at Cardiff University in 2022. I am also a non-resident associate in research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, a non-resident Wilson China Fellow at the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, and a Public Intellectuals Program Fellow at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. 

Before joining the faculty at Cardiff, I was an assistant professor in the Department of Strategy & Policy at the U.S. Naval War College. I was also previously an Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where I was affiliated with the Applied History Project and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Before becoming a historian, I was a U.S. foreign service officer.

I received my Ph.D. in history from Cornell University, where I studied modern Chinese history, East Asian international history, and U.S. foreign relations. I hold an M.A. in history from Cornell University, an M.A. in international relations from Yale University, and a B.A. in economics from Dartmouth College. I have studied Chinese at Princeton in Beijing and the Inter-University Program for Chinese Langauge Studies at Tsinghua University in Beijing

I have lived, studied, taught, traveled, and worked in China intermittently since the fall of 2002, when I taught my first class in Wuhan, Hubei Province.  

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