Jiakun (Jack) Zhang

Jiakun Zhang's profile photo
  • Interim Associate Director
  • Assistant Professor

Contact Info

Blake Hall, room #413


JIAKUN JACK ZHANG is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Kansas (KU). He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at UC San Diego. His dissertation examines when and why economically interdependent countries use military versus economic coercion in foreign policy disputes. In 2018-2019, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University.


Ph.D. in Political Science, University of California San Diego, 2018
B.A. in Political Science, Duke University, 2011


My research explores the political economy of trade and conflict in East Asia. A scarcity of appropriate measures of interdependence and theoretical disarray about its effects hinder the formulation of effective policies to manage strategic competition with China. I am building a new framework for the dynamics of political competition under economic interdependence with the aid of new data. My newest project assesses the political participation of American businesses in the section 301 hearings process to understand why business interests were unable to restrain the Trump administration’s escalation of trade tensions with China. In another project, my co-authors and I explore the political backlash against Chinese economic competition and its implications for the escalating trade war between the United States and China.

Research interests:

  • International relations
  • International political economy
  • East Asian politics
  • Chinese foreign policy
  • U.S.-China Relations
  • Trade Wars


POLS 970 Foreign Policy Analysis (Spring 2020)
POLS 170 Introduction to International Relations (Fall 2019)
POLS 676 International Relations of Asia (Fall 2019)
POLS 666 Political Economy of East Asia (Fall 2019)

Teaching interests:

  • International Relations
  • International Political Economy
  • International Security
  • East Asian Politics
  • Chinese Foreign Policy
  • U.S.-China Relations

Awards & Honors

Fulbright U.S. Student Award
U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Grants & Other Funded Activity

The New Faculty General Research Fund (NFGRF). KU Office of Research. $20000.00. Submitted 3/1/2020. University (KU or KUMC). Status: Not Funded