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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Affiliated Researcher
East Asian Studies
Email address: 

Dr Kuan-jen Chen (陳  冠任) holds a PhD in History from Cambridge. Until recently he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the University of Cambridge and his research interests are Cold War History, Modern East Asian International History, Maritime History, and American Foreign Relations. Dr Chen was born in Taipei, Taiwan. Prior to Cambridge, he obtained a BA and MA in History at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. Thereafter, he served as a corporal (Military Police) at Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology to fulfill his compulsory military service between 2011 and 2012. After his military service, Chen taught history in junior high schools in 2013.

In 2014, he began to pursue his PhD at the University of Cambridge and to work with Professor Andrew Preston. Chen's dissertation titled "US Maritime Policy in Cold War East Asia, 1945-1979" shifts the historical platform from land to sea to examine the making of a new maritime order in Cold War East Asia. In 2016, he was selected as a Fellow of the Japan Foundation and carried out his dissertation research in the University of Tokyo. His research was also financially supported by the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, Cambridge University, and European Research Council.

In 2019, Dr Chen joined the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies to carry out his postdoctoral research. He is currently completing his book titled The Making of America's Maritime Order in Cold War East Asia: Sovereignty, Local Interests, and International Security. In 2020, Dr Chen was selected as a Fellow of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.


Cold War History, Modern East Asian History, Maritime History, and US Foreign Policy.


Journal Articles

“Projecting Poseidon’s Trident: America’s East Asia and the Shifting Contours of 1950s Postwar Naval Policy.” Cold War History (

“Fishing for Oil: Natural-Resource Management between the United States and Maritime East Asia in the 1970s.” The Journal of American-East Asian Relations 27:2(July, 2020), pp. 169-197.(

Book Reviews

“Book review: Corbin Williamson, The U.S. Navy and Its Cold War Alliance, 1945-1953,” Michigan War Studies Review, 2020-100. (

“Book review: Ronald C. Po, The Blue Frontier: Maritime Vision and Power in the Qing Empire,” Frontiers of History in China 15:2(July 2020), pp. 318-320. 

Teaching responsibilities: 
Reading Chinese Archival Documents Core Chinese Language Readings in Modern Chinese History World History since 1914, Part I, Paper 23: Imperial Japan in the 20th Century, WWII in Asia, modern China and Japan, China since 1949, the End of the French Empire in Indochina, and Global Cold War