Jonathan T. Chow

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Personal Website


Knapton 205

Mondays 12:00 - 1:30 PM, Tuesdays 1:00 - 2:30 PM. Also available by appointment.

(508) 286-3506


My research focuses on regional politics in East and Southeast Asia, particularly Myanmar, China, the Philippines, and the Korean Peninsula. I am interested in the politics of “pariah states”—countries that are ostracized for violating international norms, such as human rights standards or prohibitions on developing weapons of mass destruction. I also conduct research on the Roman Catholic Church and how it seeks to shape transnational moral norms. My work has appeared in Contemporary Security Policy, Pacific Affairs, the Australian Journal of International Affairs, the Review of International Political Economy, Asian Survey, The Asan Forum, and The Diplomat.

At Wheaton College, I teach courses on comparative and international politics in Asia, international relations theory, international security, and United States foreign policy.


Ph.D. (Political Science) – University of California, Berkeley

M.A. (Political Science) – University of California, Berkeley

B.A. (Political Science and Chinese) – Williams College


The Politics of Pariah States

Since 2011, I have collaborated with Professor Leif-Eric Easley on a series of projects related to “pariah states”–countries that have faced international condemnation for violating international norms (such as human rights or prohibitions on developing weapons of mass destruction). We are interested in understanding how pariah states’ foreign relations can shape their decisions to engage in reform and opening. We have written essays on how Myanmar military leaders’ concerns that they were overdependent on China influenced their decision to proceed with liberalizing reforms in 2011. We have also compared Myanmar and North Korea’s relations with China and how their different international environments and domestic political situations indicate divergent paths toward reducing reliance on Beijing.

The Catholic Church and Transnational Moral Norms

I also conduct research on the Roman Catholic Church’s engagement with transnational moral norms. Specifically, I am interested in how the Church’s teachings condition its promotion, implementation, and contestation of moral norms promulgated by intergovernmental bodies and transnational civil society.

My book manuscript (under contract with Routledge) examines the Catholic Church’s engagement with transnational norms regarding human trafficking and access to contraception. I utilize both documentary evidence from the Church as well as in-country primary interviews with various Church actors in the Philippines. Through this research, I aim to understand how the Church can amplify both support for and opposition to transnational moral norms at the intergovernmental and domestic levels, and how contestation over ecclesiological visions within the Church also influences its stance toward transnational moral norms.




Extracurricular Interests

Outside of my teaching and research, I am the faculty advisor for the Newman Catholic Student Association, as well as for the Wargaming Club. I am also a big fan of our Model United Nations Team. I enjoy playing the piano and organ, singing, and amateur voice acting.