Assistant Director
Office Phone
365 Wallace Hall
Office Hours
Monday: 8:00 am-4:15 pm
Tuesday: 8:00 am-4:15 pm
Wednesday: 8:00 am-4:15 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am-4:15 pm
Friday: 8:00 am-4:15 pm

I work in the office Tuesday-Wednesday, and Friday; remotely on Mondays and Thursdays. 


B.A., M.A., J.D., Ph.D.


Yan Bennett is the Assistant Director for the Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China. She most recently worked at the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program (now Columbia-Harvard China and the World Program) at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs where she served as the Assistant Director from 2009-2015.  

Before coming to Princeton, Bennett was a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State and served overseas in China and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In China, she served as vice consul and had the opportunity to report on U.S. corporate labor practices, intellectual property issues, and the results of a municipal election in Guangdong Province. In Bosnia, Bennett served as special assistant to the ambassador and supported senior staff in achieving foreign policy and national security objectives. She has received awards for superior performance from the State Department, including a personal commendation from Secretary Powell. 

Bennett teaches diplomacy and international affairs as a professorial lecturer at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University and visiting presidential professor at Illinois State University. In her courses, her students learn the interaction of law and diplomacy, constitutional and international law, the law of international organizations, the United Nations, and global security. For 2022-23, she is Visiting Presidential Professor at Illinois State University (non-resident), where she teaches the practice and history of American diplomacy. She also has a number of publications on the rule of law under the Xi administration, China's emerging political philosophy, and Chinese foreign policy, such as the Belt and Road Initiative. She is working on a number of book projects, including a quantitative comparative examination of China with the United States and the history of American discourse on China. 

Bennett holds degrees in political science, international affairs, law, and history. She is married to a highly decorated combat Army veteran with two lovely daughters.

Selected Publications

“Xi Jinping Thought: Political philosophy or totalizing paradigm?” Forthcoming. In China under Xi Jinping: An Interdisciplinary Assessment, edited by Hanna Kupś, Maciej Szatkowski and Michal Dahl. Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill.

 “China’s Real Ambitions for the South Pacific.” The Strategist, June 17, 2022. https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/chinas-real-ambitions-for-the-south-p….

“Implications of China’a Pacific Dream for the United States, Australia, and Allies.” Journal of Political Risk 10, no. 6 (June 2022).

“China’s inward and outward facing identities: post-COVID challenges for China and the international rules-based order.” In COVID-19 and Foreign Aid: Nationalism and Global Development in a New World Order, edited by Viktor Jakupec, Max Kelly, Michael de Percy. London, United Kingdom: Routledge.

“Why the Winter Olympics are so vital to the Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy.” February 1, 2022. The Conversation. 

“China’s Leadership and Governance.” February 2022. Journal of Asian Studies 81(1), 151-53. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911821002357.

“Comment la Chine tente de réécrire l’histoire sur les origines de la Covid-19.” January 14, 2021. The Conversation.

“Blinken’s Call: Opportunities Abound to Revitalise US Engagement in the Indo-Pacific.” December 16, 2020. The Strategist.

“Xi Jinping Thought: Realisation of the Chinese Dream of National Rejuvenation?”  China Perspectives, No.2018/1-2, p. 99-105, Summer 2018

“China’s ‘Four Comprehensives’ Narrative: The Underlying Values of Socialist Rule of Law Reform,” conference paper July 2017

“A Critical Appraisal of China’s ‘Four Comprehensives’ Grand Narrative,” UUM Journal of Legal Studies (JLS) Vol. 6, 2015.

China's Socialist Rule of Law Reforms Under Xi Jinping, (Routledge, 2015), editor

Bennett, Yan, “Chinese Contract Law after the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods,” in Law and Policy for China's Market Socialism (Routledge, 2012)

Bennett, Yan, TARP Recipients Limitations on Foreign Worker Hiring, 196 N.J.L.J 775  (June 15, 2009)

Bennett, Yan, Options for Foreign Workers Facing Termination of Employment, 196 N.J.L.J.395 (May 11, 2009)

Bennett, Yan, Compliance with Fed. Regulations on Employment Verification, Home News Trib. (March 16, 2009)

Working Papers and book projects:

“America’s Arsenal in a Trade War with China,” (working paper)

The history of American Discourse on China