Sarah C. M. Paine, Ph.D.

University Professor Strategy and Policy Department
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Professor Paine, William S. Sims University Professor of History and Grand Strategy, has taught at the U.S. Naval War College since 2000. She lectures on geopolitics, Mao Zedong, World War II, the Chinese Civil War, and the Russo-Japanese, Korean, Vietnam and Cold wars. She has spent over eight years overseas, with multiple yearlong stints in Taiwan and Japan, and a year each in China, Russia, and Australia. Her publications rely on archival research in these countries and focus on the relations among China, Russia, and Japan as well as on the operational and strategic effects of naval blockades, commerce raiding, naval coalitions, peripheral operations, and non-military uses of navies.

Areas of Expertise

  • Asia-Pacific
  • China
  • Cold War
  • Diplomacy
  • Foreign Policy
  • Geopolitics
  • International Relations
  • Japan
  • Maritime History
  • Maritime Strategy
  • Russia
  • Taiwan
  • WWII

Professional Highlights


University Professor, U.S. Naval War College


Sims Professor of History & Grand Strategy, U.S. Naval War College


Professor, U.S. Naval War College


Associate Professor, U.S. Naval War College


Columbia University, Graduate School for Arts and Sciences, Ph.D., history, 1993
Middlebury College, Russian School, M.A., 1989
Columbia University, School for International and Public Affairs, MIA, 1984
Harvard University, Special Concentration, Latin American Studies, BA, magna cum laude, 1979

Related Credentials

Columbia University, East Asian Institute, certificate, 1987
Columbia University, Harriman Institute for the Study of the USSR, certificate 1985

Research Contributions and Publications

The Japanese Empire: Grand Strategy from the Meiji Restoration to the Pacific War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 210 pages, hardback, paperback.

Navies and Soft Power: Historical Case Studies of Naval Power and the Nonuse of Military Force, co-edited with Bruce A. Elleman. Newport, RI: Naval War College Press, 2015. 228 pages, paperback.

Commerce Raiding: Historical Case Studies, 1755-2009, co-edited with Bruce A. Elleman. Newport, RI: Naval War College Press, 2013. 338 pages, paperback.

The Wars for Asia, 1911-1949. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 487 pages, hard-back, paperback.

Naval Power and Expeditionary Wars: Peripheral Campaigns and New Theaters of Naval Warfare, co-edited with Bruce A. Elleman, London: Routledge, 2011. 235 pages, hardback, paperback.

Modern China: Continuity and Change, 1644 to the Present, co-authored with Bruce A. Elleman. New York: Prentice Hall, 2010. 505 pages, paperback.

Nation Building, State Building and Economic Development: Case Studies and Comparisons (edited). Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2010. 330 pages, hardback, paperback.

Naval Coalition Warfare: From the Napoleonic War to Operation Iraqi Freedom, co-edited with Bruce A. Elleman. London: Routledge, 2008. 247 pages, hardback, paperback.

Naval Blockades and Seapower: Strategies and Counter-Strategies 1805-2005, co-edited with Bruce A. Elleman. London: Routledge, 2006. 344 pages, hardback, paperback.

The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895: Perceptions, Power, and Primacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. 412 pages, hardback, paperback.

Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and Their Disputed Frontier, 1858-1924. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1996. 417 pages, hardback, paperback.

Awards and Decorations

Book awards: Gelber prize long list, Leopold Prize, and PROSE Award for European & World History winner for The Wars for Asia, 1911-1949. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 487 pages. Hard-back, paperback.

Book Award: 1997 Barbara Jelavich Prize for diplomatic history from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies for Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and Their Disputed Frontier, 1858-1924. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1996. 417 pages. Hardback, paperback.

Keynote Speaker: “China between Continental and Maritime Global Orders," Sean Judge Memorial Keynote Address, The Mershon Center for International Security Studies, The Ohio State University, 1 May 2015.

Fellowship: W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow and the Bittson National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, fall 2013–Spring 2014

Fellowship: Harold White Fellow, National Library of Australia, Canberra, November 2007–June 2008

Fellowship: Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, Scholar Grant, July 2007–June 2008

Fellowship: Earhart Foundation Grant, nation-building project, July 2007–June 2008

Fellowship: Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, Foreign Visiting Fellow, Summer 2002–Spring 2003

Fellowship: Fulbright Grant, Council for the International Exchange of Scholars, Researcher in Tokyo, Japan, Spring 1998–Fall 1998

Fellowship: Stanford University, Hoover Institution, Title VIII Fellow, Visting Scholar, Fall 1993; Spring 1994–Spring 1995

Fellowship: Social Science Research Council, Russia & Soviet Studies Program, Dissertation Write-up, Summer–Fall 1992

Fellowship: Columbia University, President’s Fellowship, Fall 1991–Spring 1992

Fellowship: Fulbright Grant, Institute of International Education, Archival Research, Taipei, Taiwan, Fall 1991–Spring 1992

Fellowship: China Times Cultural Foundation, Archival Research, Taipei, Taiwan, Spring–Summer 1991

Fellowship: Committee for Scholarly Communication with the PRC, Archival Research, Beijing and Nanjing, China, Spring–Fall 1990

Fellowship: International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), Long-term Exchange of Advanced Researchers to the USSR, Fall 1988–Spring 1989

Fellowship: Columbia University, East Asian Institute, Departmental Research Assistantship, Fall 1986

Fellowship: IREX, Developmental Fellowship, Language Study, Stanford Center, Taipei, Taiwan, Fall 1985–Summer 1986

Fellowship: Middlebury College, Chinese School, National Resource Fellowship, Summer 1984

Fellowship: Columbia University, School for International and Public Affairs, International Fellow, Fall 1982–Spring 1983

Fellowship: Harvard University, Center for International Affairs, Undergraduate Associate, Thesis Research, Lima, Peru, Summer 1978

External Memberships and Associations

American Historical Association
Association for Asian Studies
Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Naval War College Foundation
North American Society for Oceanic History

News, Media, & Events

VIDEO: 45 Seconds on Honor, Courage and Commitment

Jul. 08, 2019
News Publication

Starship Poseidon Summer STEM Camp

Jul. 14, 2019
3:00 p.m.
Naval Station, U.S. Naval War College, 686 Cushing Road, Newport, RI 02841

F-35 Sales Are America’s Belt and Road

Jul. 12, 2019
Foreign Policy
Article Publication

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