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Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens Joins UT Austin

As part of our efforts to recruit the top national security scholars and practitioners to the University of Texas at Austin, the Strauss Center is excited to announce that Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens will be joining our ranks later this summer. Dr. Greitens’ position is supported by a Chair established jointly by the Strauss Center and Clements Center, and is the latest example of the cooperation of the two centers and the LBJ School in advancing the national prominence of UT in the realms of national security and foreign affairs. 

Dr. Greitens will be a Distinguished Scholar with the Strauss Center for International Security & Law, as well as a Faculty Fellow with the Clements Center and an Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Commenting on Professor Greitens, Admiral (Ret) Bob Inman noted “it is a terrific gain for the University of Texas at Austin to have one of the leading young China scholars in the country join our faculty.” Michael J. Green, professor at Georgetown University and senior vice president for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) remarked “What a coup for UT Austin, the Clements and Strauss Centers, and the LBJ School. The country’s top Asia policymakers and scholars have been following Sheena Greitens’ prize-winning work on the political economy of dictatorships since she first published an assessment of North Korean illicit activities in the field’s top journal. She has had an important impact on the field and in policy circles in Washington and will no doubt bring that same dynamism to the classroom at UT Austin.”

Below please find Dr. Greitens’ formidable biography. The Strauss and Clements Centers wish to thank her for bringing her endless knowledge and experience to The LBJ School and the wider 40 Acres, and we look forward to working in tandem with Dr. Greitens to shape future policymakers in international security.

In August 2020, Sheena Chestnut Greitens will become an associate professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, a Faculty Fellow with the Clements Center and a Distinguished Scholar with the Strauss Center for International Security and Law. Her work focuses on East Asia, authoritarian politics, and American national security policy. She is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, an adjunct fellow with the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an associate in research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University, and a member of the Digital Freedom Forum at the Center for a New American Security. From 2015 to 2020, Greitens was an assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri, and co-director of the University’s Institute for Korean Studies. Her work on China and North Korea has appeared in academic journals and edited volumes in English, Chinese, and Korean, and in major media outlets.  She has also previously testified to Congress on security issues in the Indo-Pacific. Her first book, Dictators and their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence (Cambridge, 2016) received the 2017 Best Book Award from both the International Studies Association and the Comparative Democratization section of the American Political Science Association. 

In 2017-18, Greitens served as the First Lady of Missouri, where she helped lead the state’s trade mission to China and South Korea, and successfully advocated for major legislative and administrative reforms to Missouri’s policies on foster care, adoption, and child abuse prevention. 

Greitens is currently working on two main research projects: one on China’s internal security policies and their implications for China in the world, and another on authoritarian diasporas, particularly focused on North Korea. She holds a doctorate from Harvard University; an M.Phil from Oxford University, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar; and a bachelor’s from Stanford University.

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