William Joseph

Professor of Political Science

Research focuses on Chinese politics, particularly the radicalism of Mao Zedong and the evolution of Chinese communist ideology from Mao to Xi Jinping.

My major area of research interest is Chinese politics, which I have been studying for more than 50 years. I am particularly interested in the radicalism of Mao Zedong and its impact on China's political and economic development and in the evolution of Chinese communist ideology from Mao to Xi Jinping. In addition to politics of China, I have taught courses on comparative revolutionary movements, communist and post-communist regimes, the Vietnam War, and the political economy of development.

My recent edited books include Politics in China: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 4th ed., forthcoming 2024) and Introduction to Comparative Politics: Political Challenges and Changing Agendas, (Cengage, 8th ed., 2018)

I am a non-resident Associate of the John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. I was the founding faculty director of the Elisabeth Luce Moore '24 Wellesley-Yenching Program, which supports the College's ties to East Asia. I have also served as the director of Wellesley's International Relations, East Asian Studies, and Washington Internship programs and chair of the Department of Political Science from 1997-2000 and 2012-2019.

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  • B.A., Cornell University
  • M.A., Stanford University
  • Ph.D., Stanford University