M. Taylor Fravel

FACULTY  |  M. Taylor Fravel

M. Taylor Fravel is Associate Professor of Political Science and member of the Security Studies Program at MIT. Taylor is a graduate of Middlebury College and Stanford University, where he received his PhD. He has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University, a Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, a Fellow with the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program and a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also has graduate degrees from the London School of Economics and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. In March 2010, he was named Research Associate with the National Asia Research Program launched by the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center.


Taylor studies international relations, with a focus on international security, China, and East Asia. He is the author of Strong Borders, Secure Nation: Cooperation and Conflict in China's Territorial Disputes (Princeton University Press, 2008) and co-editor of Rethinking China's Rise: A Reader (Oxford University Press, 2010). He is currently completing a book-length study of major change in China's military doctrine since 1949, entitled Active Defense: Explaining the Evolution of China's Military (under advanced contract with Princeton University Press). He is also studying the relationship between material capabilities and political influence in China's rise as a great power. His research has been supported by various organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Smith Richardson Foundation.

Recent Publications

“Maritime Security in the South China Sea and the Competition over Maritime Rights,” in Patrick Cronin and William Rogers, eds., Cooperation from Strength: The United States, China and the South China Sea (Center for New American Security: Washington, DC, 2012) (PDF of chapter or book)

“China’s Strategy in the South China Sea,” Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol. 33, No. 3 (December 2011) [PDF. Email me for an off-print]

“Economic Growth, Regime Insecurity, and Military Strategy: Explaining the Rise of Non-Combat Operations in China,” Asian Security,Vol. 7, No. 2 (Fall 2011) (PDF)

“Beyond the Moat: The PLAN’s Evolving Interests and Potential Influence,” in Phillip Saunders et al., eds., The Chinese Navy: Expanding Capabilities, Evolving Roles (National Defense University Press, 2011) (with Alex Liebman) (PDF of article or book)

“China Views India’s Rise: Deepening Cooperation, Managing Differences,” in Ashley Tellis, Travis Tanner, and Jessica Keough ed., Strategic Asia 2011–12: Asia Responds to Its Rising Powers—China and India (Seattle: National Bureau of Asian Research, 2011) [PDF of article, book, or email me for an off-print]

“China’s Assertive Behavior – Part Two: The Maritime Periphery,” China Leadership Monitor, No. 35 (Summer 2011) with Michael D. Swaine. (PDF)


17.950 Territorial Conflict
17.407/17.408 Chinese Foreign Policy: International Relations and Strategy (Syllabus)
17.433/17.434 International Relations of East Asia
17.418 Field Seminar in International Relations (Syllabus)
17.THT Thesis Research Design Seminar