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John Wagner Givens

Associate Professor

Spelman College, Department of International Studies
350 Spelman Lane, SW
Atlanta, GA  30314



Doctorate of Philosophy in Politics, University of Oxford, 2013

Masters of Arts in Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 2007

Bachelor’s in the Science of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, 2003

Postdoctoral Positions

Teaching and Research Fellow, Modern Languages, Carnegie Melon University, 2016

Center for Asian Democracy, University of Louisville, 2012-2014

Journal and Law Review Articles, Book Chapters, and Monographs​

Click Title for Access

"Tiananmen Squared? Doubling Down on Taiwan’s Status Quo” China Currents, Vol. 21, No. 4, 2022

"Helping China Learn the Putin Lesson” China Currents, Vol. 21, No. 3, 2022

"Taiwan is Not Ukraine; it is its Opposite" Global Policy Journal, 13 April 2022.

"China Ostrichism: Why Didn’t the World Prepare for China’s Rise?" China Currents, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2022

Leaning In or All in the Family? Gender Equality, Dynastic Legacies, and Female Leaders” (with Charity Butcher and Tracy Mages), under revision.

Policy Contagion During A Pandemic” (with Evan Mistur and Dan Matisoff) Review of Policy Research, 26 May 2022.


Is the World Ready for China Risen?” China Currents, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2022.

From Power Balancing to a Dominant Faction in Xi Jinping’s China” (with Eun Choi and Andrew W. MacDonald), China Quarterly, Vol. 248, No. 1, 2021: 935.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery: Nationalist Emulation During the COVID-19 Pandemic” (with Evan Mistur) Journal of Chinese Political Science, 2020. 

Smarter Cities or Bigger Brother? How the Race for Smart Cities Could Determine the Future of China, Democracy, and Privacy” (with Debra Lam) Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 47, No. 4, 2020: 829.

On Their Best Behavior? Foreign Plaintiffs in Chinese Administrative Litigation” Open Judicial Politics: An Empirical Reader. Oregon State University Press, 2020.

Justice Online? Lawyers and Legal Advice Websites in the People’s Republic of China” Wisconsin International Law Journal, Vol. 37, No. 2, 2019.

Squeezing the Same Old Stone: Suing the Rural Chinese State and the Shift from Tax Reform to Land Seizures” (with Andrew W. MacDonald) China Currents, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2018.

Small and Smart: Why and How Smart City Solutions Can and Should be Adapted to the Unique Needs of Smaller Cities” (with Debra Lam) New Global Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2018: 21–36.

Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe 1958-62: Volume 63, The Macat Library, 2017.

Strategic Censorship in a Hybrid Authoritarian Regime? Differential Bias in Malaysia’s Online and Print Media” (with Jason Abbott) Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol. 15, No. 3, 2015: 455-478.

Sleeping with Dragons? Politically Embedded Lawyers Suing the Chinese State” Wisconsin International Law Journal, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2014.

New Social Media and (Electronic) Democratization in East and Southeast Asia: China and Malaysia Compared” (with Jason Abbott and Andrew MacDonald) Taiwan Journal of Democracy, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2013.

The Beijing Consensus is Neither: China as a Non-Ideological Challenge to International Norms” St Antony’s International Review Vol. 6, No. 2, 2011: 10–25.

Public Scholarship and Media Appearances
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"Taiwan is Not Ukraine; it is its Opposite" Global Policy, 2022.

The Measure of a Country: America’s Wonkiest Competition with China” (with William Morrisey) War on the Rocks, 2020.

Interviewed by Georgia Public Broadcasting: “‘Don’t Invent Any Viruses’: Atlanta-Area Asian Students Face Rise In Hate Speech

Interviewed by Georgia Public Broadcasting: “KSU Professor: Loeffler 'Attila The Hun' Political Ad Is Historically Inaccurate

Interviewed by Academic Times: “Countries with nationalist leaders ‘emulated’ one another’s COVID-19 response” by Covey Eonyak Son

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto: Humans Negotiating Autonomous Vehicles Is the New Drivers Ed” Newsweek Magazine (with Debra Lam)

A Comparative Analysis of Online and Print Media During the 2013 Malaysian General Election: A Research Note” Berita Newsletter, Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei Studies Group Association for Asian Studies, November 2014 (with Jason Abbot)

Huffington Post Blog on Chinese law, politics, and society
The Direction of China’s Legal Reform” China Brief (The Jamestown Foundation),  March 2014

Small Details Make For Big Injustices: Re-Education Through Labour and Administrative Litigation” Oxpol: University of Oxford Politics Blog,  June 2013

Interview "Urbanization in China" for Chinese Central Television News, March 2013

Why Google Should Stay in China” Good Magazine, January 2010

Invited Talks and Presentations

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"The 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests in Context" Rotary Club of Marietta, Marietta, Georgia, August 2022

"Begging the Environmental Question" Northeast Corridor Chinese Law Workshop, Washington, DC, July 2022

"Smarter Cities or Bigger Brother? How the Race for Smart Cities Could Determine the Future of China, Democracy, and Privacy"

 HBCU-Georgia Tech Transport Researcher Forum, Atlanta Georgia, May 2022


"Is the World Ready for China Risen?" China Research Center, Atlanta, Georgia, December 2021

“Leadership Promotion in Xi’s China?” China Research Center, Atlanta, Georgia, August 2020

"Smart Cities and Urban Innovation in Asia," Asia Business Conference, Harvard Business School, Cambridge, MA, March 2020

"Protected by Technology or Law? China, Liberal Democracies, and Smart Cities Skeptics" Cooper-Walsh Colloquium, Fordham University School of Law, New York City, NY, October 2019

"One Platform Four Legal Systems: How Legal Advice Websites link Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and Mainland China," Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Shanghai, China, May 2019

“Digital Justice Delivery? Lawyers and Legal Advice Websites in the People’s Republic of China”  Wisconsin International Law Journal’s Annual Symposium, University of Wisconsin, April 2019

“Can Legal Advice Websites Facilitate Challenges to the Chinese State?” China Research Center, Atlanta, Georgia, August 2017

“关于人权律师的域外理论与实践 [Global Human Rights Lawyering in Theory and Practice]” University of Hunan Law School, China, November 2014

“The Beijing Consensus is Neither: Is a Rising China Really Trying to Challenge the Washington Consensus?” Louisville Committee on Foreign Relations, February 2014

“Tax Reforms, Land Seizures, and Protests in Rural China” University of Pittsburgh, February 2014

“Suing Dragons? Taking the Chinese State to Court” Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business, University of Indiana, November 2013

“Sampling: Studying the Chinese State More Systematically” Understanding Contemporary China: Glancing Back and Looking Forward, Oxford Contemporary China Studies Program, University of Oxford, July 2012

“Sleeping with Dragons? Politically Embedded Lawyers Suing the Chinese State” Wisconsin International Law Review Symposium, University of Wisconsin, Madison; also: Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, June 2012

“法律在美国解决社会纠纷中所扮演的角色 [The Role of Law in Resolving Social Problems in the US]” Training Talk for Chinese Judges, Police, and Prosecutors, Hunan University, December 2010

“Roundtable on Asian Cause Lawyers” Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, June 2011

“美国遗产规划市场的简介 [An Introduction to the US market for Estate Planning]” & “Perceptions of China in the Western Media” Gansu Zhengtianhe Law Firm, May 2010

Grants, Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Summer 2023: Fulbright Seminars Abroad Program

2022: Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences Outstanding Early Career Award 

Summer 2018 & 2020-2021: Graduate Research Assistant Competitive Stipend, Kennesaw State University

2011-2012: Department of Politics and International Relations Studentship, University of Oxford

2011-2012: Research Award, Research Center for Chinese Politics & Business, Indiana University

2010-2011: Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

2007-2011: Research Grant, Leverhulme Trust

2007-2010: Clarendon Fund Scholarship, University of Oxford

2007-2010: Contemporary China Studies Studentship, University of Oxford

2005: Institute of East Asian Studies Language Grant, University of California, Berkeley

2002-2003: Undergraduate Research Opportunity Fellowship, Georgetown University

Teaching Experience

2017-Present: Kennesaw State University
American Government in a Comparative Perspective, Politics of East Asia, International Law and Organization (graduate and undergraduate), International Political Economy, Understanding Asia, Global Issues


2016: Carnegie Mellon University
Topics in Chinese History: The Politics, Foreign Policy, and Economics of China's Rise


2014-2016: University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Chinese Legal Institutions for the US Lawyer

2015: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh
China in the World: The Politics, Foreign Policy, and Economics of China's Rise


2011-2012: University of the West of England 
China’s Relations with the World; Business in Contemporary China; Chinese Culture and Social Identity

2009, 2011: Department of Politics, University of Oxford
Government and Politics of China, Research Methods for Comparative Government

Professional Service

Conference Co-Organizer, The Everyday Digital Politics of China, University of Pittsburgh, October 2016

Conference Co-Organizer, Law and the Legal Profession in China, University of Pittsburgh, February 2015

Reviewer: Law & Social Inquiry; Comparative Political Systems; Contemporary Politics; Problems of Post-Communism; Law & Society Review; CITY Journal; Environment and Planning D: Society and Space; Macat; Online Information Review; University of North Georgia Press 

Asian Studies MA Thesis Committee Member, University of California, Berkeley, 2013-2014

Asian Studies Seminar Coordinator, University of California, Berkeley, Fall 2006-Spring 2007

Related Work Experience

Expert Witness, Criminal and Immigration Court, 2018 –  present

Senior Research Associate, The Rights Practice, London, United Kingdom, 2011 – 2012

Project Assistant for International Initiatives, Georgetown University, 2004 – 2005


Manager for International Educational Programs, International Seminar Design, Washington, DC, 2003 – 2004

 Languages and Skills

English, Mandarin, Spanish

Microsoft Office, STATA & R statistical software, social media, Basic HTML 

Traditional Irish and American Music: Mandolin, Tenor Banjo, Bass, Vocals 

Media on CV
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