Dr Feng Zhang

MSc (LSE), PhD (LSE)
Senior Lecturer, Department of International Relations, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, College of Asia & the Pacific
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
T: +61 2 6125 3341

Areas of expertise

  • International Relations 160607
  • Government And Politics Of Asia And The Pacific 160606

Research interests

  • Chinese foreign policy and politics, especially grand strategy, intellectual thinking, policies toward the United States, Southeast Asia and South China Sea.
  • International relations of East Asia, especially Southeast Asia, the South China Sea, and China-US relations.
  • Traditional China’s foreign relations, especiallytianxiaand the tribute system. 
  • International relations theory, especially IR theory from China.


I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of International Relations at the Australian National University’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. My research focuses on Chinese foreign and security policy, Asia-Pacific security relations, international relations in East Asian history, and international relations theory. 

My first book Chinese Hegemony: Grand Strategy and International Institutions in East Asian History was published by Stanford University Press in 2015. My articles have appeared in Asia PolicyAsia & the Pacific Policy StudiesAustralian Journal of International AffairsChina: An International Journal, Chinese Journal of International PoliticsEast Asian PolicyEuropean Journal of International RelationsInternational PoliticsPolitical Science QuarterlyReview of International StudiesSurvival, and The Washington Quarterly.

I am also Adjunct Professor at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in China, and has received visiting research fellowships from the East Asian Institute of the National University of Singapore and the Guangdong Institute of International Strategy in China. Prior to ANU, I taught at Tsinghua University in Beijing and Murdoch University in Perth.

I am a regular contributor to international media and policy forums including ChinaFileEast Asian ForumForeign AffairsFinancial TimesForeign PolicyInternational Public Policy ReviewThe PaperThe Strategist and The Straits Times. I can be reached via Twitter @fengzhangmc and via my website at http://fengzhang.net.


Researcher's projects

I am completing a book with Professor Richard Ned Lebow on "managing Sino-American conflict."

Meanwhile, I'm planning three interrelated projects. The first is a study on modern Chinese grand strategy, especially its intellectual foundation since the late 19th century and its policy manifestations in the PRC period. This will be a follow-up to my first book on imperial Chinese grand strategy.

The second is a study of China-Southeast Asia relations from the premodern era to the present day. In one sense this is also a follow-up to my first book, in that I will advance some theoretical and historical arguments made in that book to examine China's historical relations with Southeast Asian political units.

The third is a project on China's strategy toward the South China Sea, especially during the past decade. The South China Sea is a major area of my research since 2015, on which I have published several papers. I will eventually consolidate these separate projects into a book. 

Available student projects

I supervise PhD and Master's theses on Chinese foreign policy and Asia-Pacific international politics. 

Current student projects

I am the panel chair and primary supervisor of Michael Varnay's PhD thesis on embedded hierarhcy in premodern East Asia. 


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Updated:  19 October 2019 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers