I graduated from Carleton College, majoring in Chinese and Russian studies after spending my junior year at Princeton University in the Critical Languages Program. I attended four consecutive summer language programs in Chinese (twice), Russian, and Japanese. Choosing sociology for graduate study and returning to Princeton, I wrote my doctoral dissertation comparing pre-modern urban networks in China and Japan as a basis for determining which country was ahead in development. This led to my first book, which was followed by a book on Russian cities and development in stages of historical in comparative perspective. While teaching for forty years at Princeton, I have continued comparative studies while adding international relations and national identity studies. My work centers on four countries in Northeast Asia, including Korea added from 2000.My research turned in the 1980s to mutual perceptions and their impact. I wrote a trilogy on the Soviet debate about Chinese socialism, the Chinese debate about Soviet socialism, and the Japanese debate about the Gorbachev era. Later, I continued to follow these bilateral relations, keeping track of Sino-Russian, Russo- Japanese, and Sino-Japanese ties and debates about each other. In the 1990s I added an interest in regionalism. I studied cross-border relations in Northeast Asia, focusing also on strategies toward regionalism in each of the countries of the region. This led to the addition of South Korea as a critical force in the search for regionalism. The result was an expansion of bilateral studies to deal with Korean ties relations to its great power neighbors.From 2005-10 I produced a five-book series on strategic thinking in Northeast Asia, covering four countries and their responses to the Korean nuclear crisis. The final book in the series focused on China, and I was given an opportunity to update the book on thinking about the Korean nuclear crisis in a paperback edition.Finally, my interest expanded to comparisons of national identities and their impact on bilateral relations. This project is in progress. It has yielded a comparative study arguing that there are strong similarities in Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean identities. The next stage of the project concentrates on the legacy of communism for Chinese and Russian identities.What makes my work distinctive is my emphasis on how the parts of a region with four assertive great powers and two Korean states anxious to influence them fit together. Increasingly, this means searching for the meaning of China's rise for the region around it. Throughout this research reliance is placed on sources in the languages of the region. This provides the foundation for current work on national identities.


B.A., Chinese and Russian Studies, Carleton College; Ph.D., Sociology, Princeton University


  • Faculty at Princeton University 40 years; instructor to Musgrave Professor of Sociology


International relations and sociology of Northeast Asia

Project Summary

My project is a comparison of the evolution of national identity in China and Russia, an analysis of the legacy of traditional communism, and an assessment of the impact of identities on bilateral relatives and the regional and world order.

Major Publications

  • Chinese Strategic Thought toward Asia, 2010 (Palgrave).
  • Strategic Thinking about the Korean Nuclear Crisis: Four Countries Caught between North Korea and the United States, updated paperback edition, 2011 (Palgrave).
  • U.S. Leadership, History, and Bilateral Relations in Northeast Asia, 2011 (Cambridge University Press).