Ja Ian Chong
- International Relations
Ph.D., Politics, Princeton University; M.A., Politics, Princeton University; M.S., Foreign Service, Georgetown University; B.S.F.S., Georgetown University, Magna cum Laude
Thesis Title: States of Imposition: Major Power Competition, External Intervention, and the Politics of State Formation
Committee: Professor Thomas J. Christensen, Professor Lynn T. White, III, Professor G. John Ikenberry & Professor William C. Wohlforth
Abstract: My dissertation examines the effects of external intervention on state formation, particularly the establishment of sovereign statehood. I posit that the institutions of governance and political authority that define the organizational form a polity exhibits results from the patterns of major power competition over that area, conditional on major power perceptions about the opportunity costs of intervention. The project attempts to evaluate this claim by paying special attention to China in comparative perspective to the Netherlands Indies/Indonesia, and Siam/Thailand during the first half of the twentieth century. This allows a consideration of both Northeast and Southeast Asian cases. The project represents an effort to examine the processes through which systemic conditions and external involvement can shape the political institutions of a polity. In doing so, my work re-considers accounts of state formation that emphasize nationalist mobilization, as well as the broader applicability of explanations for state formation derived from early modern European experiences. By explicitly exploring external influences on the processes of state formation, my thesis also speaks to current foreign-led efforts to establish order in Central Asian and Middle Eastern polities such as Afghanistan, Iraq, the Caucasus, and elsewhere.