An open notebook with writing and a pen on one side


Read about the LSE Phelan United States Centre's research themes and related programmes and access research from our Centre Affiliates.

Rethinking America’s Role in the World

At a time when new international forces such as the rise of China, terrorism, and climate change, as well as global economic restructuring, are leading policy-makers on both sides of the Atlantic to question the relevance of the West, we need to better understand the international and domestic forces that shape the US-European relationship. The Phelan US Centre will play a leading role in this effort by sharpening our understanding of the international challenges facing the West and identifying new possibilities for transatlantic policy innovation, bilateral cooperation, and ideological recalibration.

Governing America in the 21st Century

Employing LSE strengths in comparative political analysis, the ‘Governing America in the 21st Century’ stream will shine a spotlight on aspects of domestic governance and democratic representation that are shaping Washington’s capacity to generate policy outputs today. Of particular importance are the political effects of economic insecurity, runaway political spending, and public mistrust of government and business leaders. This stream will also focus on the relationship between government policies and business (e.g. regulatory policy, antitrust policy, industrial policy) and the growing importance of America’s states as incubators of policy innovation and change.

Globalisation and the Reshaping of America

Globalisation is often equated with ‘Americanisation’, but it is also transforming US society. Increasing inequality, wage stagnation, and falling living standards are some of the most obvious manifestations. Uneven patterns of regional growth and declining public support for freer trade, liberal immigration, and public investment are others. Developing effective responses to these disparities in wealth and opportunity is critical to America’s long-term health and welfare and, importantly, to its willingness to lead internationally.


LSE Faculty Research and Workshops

Timely seminars and workshops with US Centre Affiliates. 


US-China Seminar Series

In October 2021, the Phelan United States Centre launched a new multi-year seminar series on US-China relations to explore the current state and future of relations between China and the US in the 21st century. Seminars focus on three broad themes: ‘geopolitics and strategic competition,’ ‘global supply chains, MNE’s, and trade politics,’ and ‘technological innovation and domestic institutions.’  

Series co-chairs: David Soskice (LSE Department of Government) and Peter Trubowitz 

Agatha Kratz 200x200

Towards Greater Transatlantic Coordination on China
Speaker Agatha Kratz (Rhodium Group)
Date 7 March 2023


Brave New World: Recalibrating risk and its implications for China-Africa relations
Speaker Chris Alden (LSE Department of International Relations)
Date 28 February 2023

Susan Shirk 200x200

Overreach: How China Derailed its Peaceful Rise
Susan Shirk (University of California, San Diego)
Date 17 January 2023

Taylor Fravel 200x200

China’s Belt and Road Initiative
Speaker Taylor Fravel (MIT)
Date 22 November 2022

Jessica Chen Weiss 200x200

A World Safe for Autocracy? China and the Future of the International Order
Speaker: Jessica Chen Weiss (Cornell University)
Date 8 November 2022


Has American Engagement with China Failed?
Speaker Yuhua Wang (Harvard University)
Date 11 October 2022

Rana Mitter 200x200

History and revisionism: when historical analogy works in US-China relations and when it doesn't
Speaker Rana Mitter (Oxford University)
Date 28 September 2022

Torben Iversen 200x200

How much does openness matter to Chinese technological success?
Speaker Torben Iversen (Harvard University)
Date 18 May 2022

Aaron Friedberg 200x200

Getting China Wrong
Speaker Aaron Friedberg (Princeton University)
Date 9 March 2022 

Yuen Yuen Ang 200x200

A Clash of Two Gilded Ages
Speaker Yuen Yuen Ang (University of Michigan)
Date 16 February 2022

Rosemary Foote 200x200

The uses and abuses of human rights in America’s China policy
Speaker Rosemary Foot (Oxford University)
Date 19 January 2022 

Yan Xuetong 200x200

China-US competition in the digital age
Speaker Yan Xuetong (Tsinghua University)
Date 10 November 2021 

Tom Christensen 200x200

Are the US and China headed for Cold War?
Speaker Tom Christensen (Columbia University)
Date 13 October 2021 


Race, Gender and Politics Seminars

In Michaelmas Term 2021 the Phelan US Centre and Department of International History hosted an interdisciplinary seminar series which brought together historians and political scientists to share current research on the theme of ‘Race, Gender and Politics in the US in historical and contemporary perspective'.



Black Women and Political Leadership in the US
26 October 2021

The first seminar, led by Professor Nadia E. Brown (Georgetown University) and Dr. Anastasia Curwood (University of Kentucky), focused on the issue of Black women and political leadership. It highlighted the links between figures like Shirley Chisholm, who in 1972 became the first African American woman to run as a candidate of a major party for the US presidency, and current US Vice President Kamala Harris.


The Slow Death of Sagon Penn: Police Violence in Reagan-era San Diego
9 November 2021

In the second seminar, Dr. Adriane Lentz-Smith (Duke University) used the case of Sagon Penn, a young black martial-arts expert who was acquitted of the murder of a white police officer in 1985, to examine police racism and violence in Reagan-era San Diego.


Jim Crow 2.0: Voter Suppression in the 21st Century
9 December 2021

The third seminar, with Professor Carol Anderson (Emory University), reflected on the intersection of race and rights in the contemporary US. Professor Anderson discussed the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, voter suppression, and the resistance against this anti-democratic trend.


Single Parent Families


Amanda-Sheely 2-100x100

The Phelan US Centre provides funding for faculty affiliates organising small conferences on US-related research topics or themes. These conferences are designed to bring together up to a dozen scholars from the US, Europe, and the LSE to present and discuss ongoing research. 

As part of this initiative, Dr Amanda Sheely, Associate Professor in the LSE’s Department of Social Policy organised a conference in May 2021 on Single Parent Families. Conducted virtually over three days, the conference included academics based in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Finland, and the United States. This conference opened with an LSE public event on 20 May 2021, co-hosted by the Department of Social Policy and the Phelan US Centre: ‘Where Are All the "Welfare Queens?" Diversity and European Evidence on Single-Parent Families’



Student Research

Read research reports from our student-facing programmes.


PhD Grant Research

Our PhD Summer Research Grants aim to encourage innovative research on the United States and to support students pursuing postgraduate research on topics related to the Centre’s overall mission of promoting internationally-oriented scholarship on America’s changing role in the world.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

In Michaelmas 2017, the Centre launched the US Centre Undergraduate Research Assistantship program as a means of encouraging US-related interdisciplinary research collaborations between academics and undergraduate students at LSE.

Collaborating over the course of an academic year, undergraduate students are paired with LSE academics who require assistance in collecting or processing new data, gathering archival resources, writing-up a blog article, or conducting library searches. 


“Research” by Neil Conway is licensed under CC BY 2.0


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LSE Phelan US Centre, Centre Building, 10th Floor, , 2 Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AD