Rachel Xian

Rachel Xian

Rachel Xian
  • Joint Doctoral Student in Communication and Political Science

Rachel Xian is interested in the network dynamics of peace processes, specifically how negotiation and cooperation spread from individual to international levels. She also studies the neuropsychological underpinnings of international cooperation.

Rachel Xian is a joint Ph.D. student at the Annenberg School for Communication and the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies the networked, psychological dynamics of international relations, specifically how peace and conflict spillover from individual to international levels.

Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania, Xian was a policy research fellow at the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, where she researched the political influence of global cities for Dr. Kent E. Calder. Xian received her M.A. in international economics, conflict management, and China studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). At SAIS, she focused on conflict prevention in the South China Sea, nuclear and cyber technology in China, and political psychology of international relations. Her M.A. thesis “Conditioning Constructs: A Psychological Theory of International Cooperation” is forthcoming in International Negotiation: A Journal of Theory and Practice. She has also written on East Asian conflict management for The Diplomat and The SAIS China Studies Review. 

Xian received her B.A. in political science, international studies, and East Asian studies from the Johns Hopkins University. She is adjunct faculty for Johns Hopkins Summer Programs, developing and instructing courses on neuroscience and philosophy. A Toronto native, she currently resides in Baltimore with her three rabbits.


  • B.A., Johns Hopkins University, 2016
  • M.A., Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 2018

Selected Publications