Chinese Scholar of Failed States Visits UWT This Year

This year, the Division of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs is pleased to be hosting Dr. Yan Jian (left) as a visiting scholar. Dr. Yan earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from Beijing’s prestigious Renmin University in 2012. Since 2005 Dr. Yan has been a research fellow in the Center for Global Governance Studies in China’s Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, where he has translated numerous political science books and journal articles into Chinese.

Dr. Yan’s current scholarly focus is on failed states in Africa and he has published more than 20 articles in this area. This interest was sparked by a particular conversation with his dissertation advisor, Yu Keping, author of the famous essay, Democracy is a Good Thing,” that led Yan to consider why it was that a number of contemporary African states seemed to be worse off than during their colonial period.  While at UWT Dr. Yan will continue his research on this topic. He has already delivered one informal “brown bag” talk on his research; stay tuned for other seminars by him over the coming year.

Dr. Yan is accompanied here by his family. Wife Jia Yajuan is the English editor of The Journal of Modern Chinese History. Five-year-old daughter Beixi (“Bessie,” whose favorite color is pink and whose favorite animals are dogs) is bravely integrating into kindergarten at a local elementary school. The family has already made a habit of exploring Tacoma’s local parks and playgrounds and looks forward to continuing to learn about the local area and beyond. “Someone” has promised that the Tacoma winter will be milder than in Boston, a city where several years ago Dr. Yan and his wife spent a winter.  Let’s hope so!

Dr. Yan’s office is on the second floor of Keystone.  You can reach him at