Kristen Parris

Associate Professor

Current Courses

Fall 2022

  • PLSC 101 – Government and Politics in the Modern World

Winter 2023

  • PLSC 434 – Senior Seminar – International Politics

Spring 2023

PLSC 307 – Government and Politics of East Asia


Kristen Parris earned her MA in East Asian Studies and her PhD in Political Science from Indiana University.  She joined the Political Science Department at Western Washington University in 1991 and serves on the department’s Curriculum and Scholarship committees. 

Dr. Parris’ research interests include Chinese Politics (local governance and governance), State Society Relations, and Citizenship and State Building.  She has traveled extensively and conducted research in China and is a member of the WWU Center for East Asian Studies, an interdisciplinary program that draws upon the expertise of more than 20 faculty from across the university.  She speaks and reads Mandarin Chinese.

Professor Parris teaches courses on Modern Government and Politics, East Asian Politics, International Relations of East Asia, Democratization, Chinese Politics, Citizenship, Nationalism, and Globalism.  As part of the Western Faculty Led Study Abroad Programs, Professor Parris has taken groups of students to China to study Chinese culture, community and citizenship. She also serves as President of the Association of Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast (ASPAC).

Areas of Specialty

Comparative Politics

Curriculum Vitae:


Selected Publications

Works in Progress

  • “States Making Through Community Building: Neighborhood Organization in Comparative Perspective”


  • Song Chengcheng, Wang Shizong & Kristen Parris, “All Roads to Rome: Autonomy, Political Connections, and Organizational Strategies of NGOs in China” China: An International Journal, (Forthcoming)
  • Kristen Parris, “Transforming State and Citizen through Community Building: The View from Zhejiang,” in Sujian Guo and Jianxing Yi, eds., Civil Society and Governance in China (Palgrave McMillan, 2012)
  • Kristen Parris, "Wenzhou," in David Pong, ed.  The Encyclopedia of Modern Chinese History, encyclopedic entry (Charles Scribners & Sons,  2009 )
  • "The Rise of Private Business Interests," in Zhang Minjie, ed., The Second Revolution in China: Contemporary China in Western Scholars’ Eyes (Beijing shanwu chubanshe, 2001)
  • "Private Interests and the Public Good: The Rise of Private Business Interests." In Merle Goldman and Roderick MacFarquhar, eds. The Paradoxes of China’s Post-Mao Reforms (Harvard University Press, 1999)
  • "Entrepreneurs and Citizenship in China," Problems of Post Communism 46, no. 1(January/February 1999), pp. 43-61