• Ph.D. Harvard University
  • B.A. Princeton University


I am the Brown Professor of Asian Studies. I teach courses on East Asian Politics, including domestic politics of East Asian countries and the international relations of the region. My research and writing focuses on Taiwanese politics and on the relationships among the United States, the People’s Republic of China, and Taiwan.

In 2019-2020 I was a Fulbright scholar at National Taiwan University in Taipei, studying the political and social views of Taiwanese youth. I’ve been a visiting professor at two universities in the People’s Republic of China: Fudan University (2006) and Shanghai Jiaotong University (2013 & 2015), and I was a visiting researcher at National Chengchi University in Taiwan in 2005. I’m also non-resident fellow of the China Policy Institute at Nottingham University and a senior fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI). I also interact frequently with US government officials, especially in the Taiwan policy field.

I’ve held a number of administrative posts at Davidson College; I currently serve as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. I am also a director of The Taiwan Fund, a closed-end investment fund specializing in Taiwan-listed companies.

I’ve written two academic books on Taiwan’s domestic politics -- Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Democracy (Routledge 1999) and From Opposition to Power: Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (Lynne Rienner Publishers 2001) – as well as two books for general readers – Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse (2011) and The Tiger Leading the Dragon: How Taiwan Propelled China’s Economic Rise (2021)I’ve published articles on Taiwan’s domestic politics, the national identity issue in Taiwan-China relations, generational politics in Taiwan, and related topics. I’ve also published items in the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog.

U.S. Interest in Taiwan

Taiwan has enduring value for the U.S., Rigger says, and the U.S. has to decide whether we want to invest our own resources in helping the Taiwanese people decide for themselves where they want to be economically and politically in their relationship with China.