M. Taylor Fravel

M. Taylor Fravel

Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science

Director of the MIT Security Studies Program

CV (pdf)

International relations; international security; military strategy; military doctrine; nuclear weapons; nuclear strategy; territorial disputes; maritime disputes; China; East Asia.

Biography

M. Taylor Fravel is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and Director of the MIT 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. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the International Studies Quarterly, Security Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, and The China Quarterly, and is a member of the board of directors for the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. He is also the Principal Investigator of the Maritime Awareness Project.

Research

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). His new book, Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy Since 1949, will be published by Princeton University Press in 2019. His other publications have appeared in International Security, Foreign Affairs, Security Studies, International Studies Review, The China Quarterly, The Washington Quarterly, Journal of Strategic Studies, Armed Forces & Society, Current History, Asian Survey, Asian Security, China Leadership Monitor, and Contemporary Southeast Asia. His research has been supported by various organizations, including the National Science Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, United States Institute of Peace, and Smith Richardson Foundation.

Recent Publications

“Shifts in Warfare and Party Unity: Explaining Changes in China’s Military Strategy,” International Security Vol 42, No. 3 (Winter 2017/2018)

“Threading the Needle: The South China Sea Disputes and U.S.-China Relations,” in Robert Ross and Øystein Tsunjo, eds., Strategic Adjustment and the Rise of China:  Power and Politics in East Asia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2017)

“Qualitative Investigations of Theoretical Models: The Value of Process Tracing,” Journal of Theoretical Politics Vol. 29, No. 3 (2017) (with Peter Lorentzen and Jack Paine)

“Explaining China’s Escalation in the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands Dispute,” Global Summitry Vol. 2, No. 1 (June 2016)

“Assuring Assured Retaliation: China’s Nuclear Strategy and U.S.-China Strategic Stability,” International Security Vol. 40, No. 2 (Fall 2015) (with Fiona S. Cunningham)

“The PLA and National Security Decisionmaking: Insights from China’s Territorial and Maritime Disputes,” in Phillip Saunders and Andrew Scobell, eds., The PLA’s Role in National Security Policy-Making (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2015)

“Projecting Strategy: The Myth of Chinese Counter-Intervention,” The Washington Quarterly Vol. 37, No. 4 (Winter 2015) (with Christopher P. Twomey)

“Things Fall Apart: Maritime Disputes and China’s Regional Diplomacy,” in Jacques deLisle and Avery Goldstein, eds., China’s Challenges: The Road Ahead (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015)

“Territorial and Maritime Boundary Disputes in Asia,” in Saadia Pekkanen, Rosemary Foot, and John Ravenhill, Oxford Handbook of the International Relations of Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)

Teaching

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





 

News

China is not an enemy

M. Taylor Fravel , J. Stapleton Roy , Michael D. Swaine , Susan A. Thornton and Ezra Vogel Washington Post

Dear President Trump and members of Congress:
We are members of the scholarly, foreign policy, military and business communities, overwhelmingly from the United States, including many who have focused on Asia throughout our professional careers. We are deeply concerned about the growing deterioration in U.S. relations with China...

The (evolving) art of war

Peter Dizikes MIT News

In 1969, the Soviet Union moved troops and military equipment to its border with China, escalating tensions between the communist Cold War powers. In response, China created a new military strategy of “active defense” to repel an invading force near the border. There was just one catch: China did not actually implement its new strategy until 1980. Which raises a question: How could China have taken a full decade before shifting its military posture in the face of an apparent threat to its existence?

Commerce and coercion

Leda Zimmerman MIT Political Science

"Those who study China see nationalism as a sort of narrative that the state actively creates, helping to create legitimacy for the [Communist] party," says Miura. She set out to learn whether all Chinese politics followed the central government's nationalist narrative.

Biography

M. Taylor Fravel is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and Director of the MIT 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. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the International Studies Quarterly, Security Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, and The China Quarterly, and is a member of the board of directors for the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. He is also the Principal Investigator of the Maritime Awareness Project.

Research

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). His new book, Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy Since 1949, will be published by Princeton University Press in 2019. His other publications have appeared in International Security, Foreign Affairs, Security Studies, International Studies Review, The China Quarterly, The Washington Quarterly, Journal of Strategic Studies, Armed Forces & Society, Current History, Asian Survey, Asian Security, China Leadership Monitor, and Contemporary Southeast Asia. His research has been supported by various organizations, including the National Science Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, United States Institute of Peace, and Smith Richardson Foundation.

Recent Publications

“Shifts in Warfare and Party Unity: Explaining Changes in China’s Military Strategy,” International Security Vol 42, No. 3 (Winter 2017/2018)

“Threading the Needle: The South China Sea Disputes and U.S.-China Relations,” in Robert Ross and Øystein Tsunjo, eds., Strategic Adjustment and the Rise of China:  Power and Politics in East Asia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2017)

“Qualitative Investigations of Theoretical Models: The Value of Process Tracing,” Journal of Theoretical Politics Vol. 29, No. 3 (2017) (with Peter Lorentzen and Jack Paine)

“Explaining China’s Escalation in the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands Dispute,” Global Summitry Vol. 2, No. 1 (June 2016)

“Assuring Assured Retaliation: China’s Nuclear Strategy and U.S.-China Strategic Stability,” International Security Vol. 40, No. 2 (Fall 2015) (with Fiona S. Cunningham)

“The PLA and National Security Decisionmaking: Insights from China’s Territorial and Maritime Disputes,” in Phillip Saunders and Andrew Scobell, eds., The PLA’s Role in National Security Policy-Making (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2015)

“Projecting Strategy: The Myth of Chinese Counter-Intervention,” The Washington Quarterly Vol. 37, No. 4 (Winter 2015) (with Christopher P. Twomey)

“Things Fall Apart: Maritime Disputes and China’s Regional Diplomacy,” in Jacques deLisle and Avery Goldstein, eds., China’s Challenges: The Road Ahead (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015)

“Territorial and Maritime Boundary Disputes in Asia,” in Saadia Pekkanen, Rosemary Foot, and John Ravenhill, Oxford Handbook of the International Relations of Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)

Teaching

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





 

News

China is not an enemy

M. Taylor Fravel , J. Stapleton Roy , Michael D. Swaine , Susan A. Thornton and Ezra Vogel Washington Post

Dear President Trump and members of Congress:
We are members of the scholarly, foreign policy, military and business communities, overwhelmingly from the United States, including many who have focused on Asia throughout our professional careers. We are deeply concerned about the growing deterioration in U.S. relations with China...

The (evolving) art of war

Peter Dizikes MIT News

In 1969, the Soviet Union moved troops and military equipment to its border with China, escalating tensions between the communist Cold War powers. In response, China created a new military strategy of “active defense” to repel an invading force near the border. There was just one catch: China did not actually implement its new strategy until 1980. Which raises a question: How could China have taken a full decade before shifting its military posture in the face of an apparent threat to its existence?

Commerce and coercion

Leda Zimmerman MIT Political Science

"Those who study China see nationalism as a sort of narrative that the state actively creates, helping to create legitimacy for the [Communist] party," says Miura. She set out to learn whether all Chinese politics followed the central government's nationalist narrative.