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Personal information

Dr. Nana de Graaff is Associate Professor in Political Science and International Relations at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. She is also Director of Studies for the BSc and MSc Political Science at this department and Programme director of the Graduate School of Social Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She was a Honorary Fellow (2016-2017), at the Department of International Politics, City University of London. Since September 2015 she is boardmember of the Dutch Political Science Association (NKWP, Nederlandse Kring voor de Wetenschap der Politiek). 



My main research interests are within International Relations, International Political Economy and Elite Studies (political sociology):

- Chinese political and economic elites

- The globalization of Chinese firms

- US foreign policy in the post-Cold War period

- America political and economic elites 

- Corporate elite networks

- Social Network Analysis

- The geopolitical economy of energy and emerging powers

I publishes in leading journals in International Relations (European Journal of International Relations, International Affairs, International Politics), journals within the field of International Political Economy and Sociology (e.g. Global Networks, Globalizations, International Journal of Comparative Sociology) and with highly ranked publishers (e.g. Cambridge University Press, Routledge, Palgrave McMillan).

I am part of many international research networks such as the recently established China in Europe Research Network (CHERN) with University of Bristol, a project on China's transnationalizing oil industry sponsored by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), and the International Institute on Asian Studies (Leiden).

I am a co-investigator in the Corporate Mapping Partnership, a large project to systematically map the structure and influence of the fossil fuel corporate sector in Western Canade led by Prof. William Carroll (Victoria University): https://www.uvic.ca/news/topics/2017+phd-nicolas-graham-fossil-fuel-mapping+ring and a founding member and director of the research group Mapping Elite Networks and Governance in the 21st Century (MENG 21). 

I am advisory board member of the journal The International Spectatorhttps://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rspe20/current




I am Director of Studies for the Bachelor and Master in Political Science, at VU Amsterdam.

I teach courses at BA and MA level in:

  • International Relations and Global Governance
  • Transnational Political Economy
  • Global Political Economy
  • International Security
  • Model UN
  • Academic Writing
  • Supervision master theses and research papers

I am also Programme Director in charge of doctoral education for the VU Graduate School of Social Sciences.




I obtained my doctoral degree in Political Science (cum laude/with distinction) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2013, and also received my MSc-degree International Relations there in 2006. Previously, studied Political Science at the Free University in Brussels.


Prizes and Awards

2018 - Nominated by students for Frank van der Duyn Schouten award, best senior lecturer in Political Science


2018 - Individual Talent Grant - Institute for Societal Resilience, VU Amsterdam. 


2016 - Best Junior Lecturer of the Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam.


2015 - Research Fellowship of the Dept. of Political Sciences & Public Administration, VU University Amsterdam.


2013 - Faculty Dissertation Prize, Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam.


2013 - Best Lecturer in Political Science, VU University Amsterdam (selected by students).


2013 - Annual Faculty Grant from VU University Faculty of Social Sciences for talented female scholars.


Ancillary activities

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Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where N.A. de Graaff is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 1 Similar Profiles
elite Social Sciences
imperialism Social Sciences
foreign policy Social Sciences
cold war Social Sciences
social network Social Sciences
network analysis Social Sciences
market Social Sciences
power elite Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2010 2018

Saying goodbye? Tracing my itinerary from Amsterdam to Beijing

de Graaff, N. A., Aug 2018, Transnational Capital and Class Fractions: The Amsterdam School Perspective Reconsidered. Jessop, B. & Overbeek, H. (eds.). Abingdon and New York: Routledge, p. 191-196 6 p. (RIPE Series of Global Political Economy ).

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


US-China relations and the crisis of liberal order

de Graaff, N. A. & van Apeldoorn, E. B., 2018

Research output: Online publication or Non-textual formOnline publication or WebsiteProfessional

US-China relations and the liberal world order: Contending elites, colliding visions?

de Graaff, N. & van Apeldoorn, B., 1 Jan 2018, In : International Affairs. 94, 1, p. 113-131 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

world order
foreign policy

Obama’s economic recovery strategy open markets and elite power: business as usual?

van Apeldoorn, B. & de Graaff, N., May 2017, In : International Politics. 54, 3, p. 356–372 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

market power
financial market
network analysis

Oil elites and transnational alliances

de Graaff, N. A., 2017, The Geopolitics of Global Energy. The New Cost of Plenty . Lehman, T. (ed.). Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, p. 65-84

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Activities 2011 2018

  • 31 Lecture / Presentation
  • 2 PhD thesis examination
  • 1 Workshop

Foreign Direct Investments and China

N.A. de Graaff (Speaker)
Apr 2018

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

US-China Relations and the Liberal Order - an Elite Perspective

N.A. de Graaff (Speaker)
22 Feb 2018

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

The Future of the Liberal Order - Chatham House

N.A. de Graaff (Speaker)
17 Jan 2018

Activity: Lecture / PresentationProfessional

Energy Transitions in the Arab Gulf: Analysis of Challenges and Opportunities

N.A. de Graaff (Examiner)
16 Jan 2018

Activity: PhD thesis ExaminationPhD thesis examination