About Us

Monks in redish-orange robes in line


The mission of the Center for Asian Democracy, established in 2006, is to promote research and teaching about democracy and the prospects for democratization in Central, South, Southeast and East Asia. Through publications, conferences, workshops, visiting scholars programs, colloquia, and research projects in Asian countries, the Center creates a forum for studying political dynamics in this vital region.


Previous Affiliated Scholars:

Jason Abbott, Former CAD Director
Dr. Jason Abbott served as the Endowed Chair in Asian Democracy at the University of Louisville, and the Director of the Center for Asian Democracy, from 2010 until 2021 when he chose to take early retirement. He joined UofL in July 2010, after previously holding positions at The University of Surrey, The School of Oriental and African Studies at The University of London, and the Department of International Studies, Nottingham Trent University. He has published five books and over 20 articles and book chapters on issues of democratization, economic development, political economy and regional security in Southeast Asia (and Malaysia in particular). He is also an experienced broadcaster giving interviews to a range of media organizations during his career to outlets such as BBC 24, BBC World Service, CNN, Al-Jazeera and Voice of America. He has also provided consultancy advice to Research Analysts at the Foreign Office of the United Kingdom, Oxford Analytica, and the International Transport Workers Federation.

Jason Abbott -- Curriculum Vitae

 Andrew MacDonald, Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Andrew MacDonald is an Assistant Professor of Social Science at Duke Kunshan University. He received his BA in in History and MA in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and his MPhil and PhD in Politics from Oxford University (2015). He was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Center for Asian Democracy at the University of Louisville in 20172017. Dr. MacDonald’s primary interest is in finding new ways of unlocking data to better understand individual level outcomes in China. His research focuses on service provision in authoritarian regimes and the incentive structure of developing nations in providing social welfare benefits as well as how individuals are impacted by and react to state narratives and ideology.

Andrew MacDonald -- Curriculum Vitae

Jinhyeok Jang, Post-Doctoral Research Associate
Jinhyeok Jang came to the Center after completing his PhD study in the Department of Political Science at Rice University in 2014.  His research primarily focuses on themes of political institutions and political behaviors, legislative policy-making, democracy and democratization in East Asia, and U.S.-East Asia relations.  His dissertation explores how political parties, electoral laws, and legislative agenda dynamics have shaped left-right politics in East Asian legislatures.  His main post-dissertation research project is to analyze the roles of legislatures in economic policy-making in East Asia.   

Jinhyeok Jang -- Curriculum Vitae

John Wagner Givens, Post-Doctoral Research Associate
John Wagner Givens comes to the Center from the University of Oxford where he was a Clarendon Scholar and doctoral candidate in the department of politics. Last year, he was also an Associate Lecturer at the University of the West of England. He has been studying China for over a decade and his dissertation and current research, based on two years of fieldwork and 175 interviews, is about lawyers who sue the Chinese state. He also consults for a non-profit organization that works with Chinese lawyers and blogs on Chinese law, politics and society for the Huffington Post.

John Wagner Givens - Curriculum Vitae

Publication -- “The Beijing Consensus is Neither: China as a Non-Ideological Challenge to International Norms,” St Antony’s International Review 6, no. 2 (2011): 10–25.

Daniel Tauss, Former Scholar-in-Residence
Daniel Tauss is currently studying the liberal roots of classical Chinese political thought, and its potential to inspire native Asian democratic alternatives to Western political forms.  He did his undergraduate work at Yale, has master’s degrees in Asian Studies and Philosophy from The University of Hawai’i and the University of Cambridge.  He recently completed his doctorate in Politics and International Relations from the University of Southern California.  He has served as the Director of the International Residential College at USC, and Dean of Branford College at Yale.  He lives in Cincinnati with his wife Emilia, their beagle Spud, and their round tabby cat who, following the Confucian ‘Rectification of Names,’ is named Marble.

Daniel Tauss - Curriculum Vitae