Yuan Yi Zhu

Research Topic:

The Theories and Practices of Legal Sovereignty in Republican China
International Relations Network
Nuffield College
DPhil International Relations
zhucvoct2020.pdf (136.21 KB)

I am a DPhil candidate in International Relations at Nuffield College and an Associate Member of Pembroke College, Oxford. In addition, I am a Senior Research Fellow at Policy Exchange. My research is concerned with the notion of sovereignty within the context of international law. In particular, I am interested in the influence of non-Western powers such as China on the development of legal understandings of sovereignty. I also maintain secondary research interests in political history and public law.

Before coming to Oxford, I obtained a BA from McGill University, where I was an Allen Oliver Fellow and Moyse Scholar, and a MPhil from the University of Cambridge, where I was a Bacon Scholar.


My research interests include:

  • Constitutions, Institutions and Governments,

  • Law and International law,

  • Norms, legitimacy and justification,

  • Foreign Policy and diplomacy,

  • Global governance,

  • History,

  • Institutions and organisations,

  • International law,

  • Sovereignty


I currently teach International Relations for undergraduate PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) students at Pembroke College, Harris Manchester College, Hertford College, and Worcester College, Oxford. I have also taught for Stanford University's Oxford Program.


  • Asian Society of International Law Young Scholar Prize (2021)

  • Barbara W. Tuchman Prize for Best Paper in Historical International Relations by a Graduate Student, International Studies Association (2020)

  • Social Sciences Research Council of Canada Doctoral Research Fellowship (2017)

  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship [declined], (2017)

  • Nuffield College-DPIR Studentship in International Relations, University of Oxford (2016)

  • Gabrielle Sacconaghi Bacon Scholarship in International Relations, University of Cambridge (2015)

  • Moyse Travelling Scholarship, McGill University (2015)

  • Allen Oliver Fellowship, McGill University (2015)

  • Philip F. Vineberg Travelling Fellowship, McGill University [declined] (2015)

  • Mackenzie King Travelling Scholarship, Mackenzie King Trustees [declined] (2015)

  • Guy Drummond Fellowship, Science Po and McGill University [declined] (2014)

  • Cherry Prize in Political Science, McGill University (2014)

  • Mr & Mrs Harry Colle Award, McGill University (2014)

Yuan Yi Zhu


As author:

As editor:

  • (with Tuuli-Anna Huikuri) "Redrawing the Boundaries of International Law", special issue of St Antony's International Review 14(1) (May 2018).
  • (with M Gehring, A Wardell, E Kassongo, and J Nadeau) CIFOR-UNIKIS-CISDL Sustainable Landscapes Law and Governance Info Brief Series (Montreal: Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, 2015).

I also write regularly for various publications, including Foreign Policy and The Critic.