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Dr. Nana de Graaff is Associate Professor in International Relations at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. She is 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. De Graaff is Chair of the EU COST Action 18215 China in Europe Research Network; Executive Council Member of SASE (Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics) and International Advisory Board member of International Affairs (Oxford University Press/Chatham House). She was a Honorary Fellow (2016-2017), at the Department of International Politics, City University of London and is boardmember of the Dutch Political Science Association (NKWP, Nederlandse Kring voor de Wetenschap der Politiek) since 2015. 



Nana de Graaff's 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; American political and economic elites; Corporate elite networks; Social Network Analysis; the politics and political economy of energy.

She publishes in leading journals in International Relations (Review of International Political Economy, 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).

She is an advisory board member of the journal The International Spectatorhttps://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rspe20/current


Grants and Research Projects

De Graaff obtained an EU COST Action grant: China in Europe Research Network (CHERN) (2019-2023), with which she will establish a Europe wide network aimed at pooling, exchanging, disseminating and generating research on Chinese socio-economic engagements with Europe. 

She is co-Principal Investigator in an ESRC (UK) funded project (2019-2022) 'Fraying Ties? Networks, Territory and Transformation in the UK oil sector.’ An interdisciplinary research project led by Prof. Gavin Bridge (Durham University) in collaboration with London School of Economic (LSE) and Platform. 

She is also a co-investigator in the Corporate Mapping Project, a SSHRC funded research-project aimed at systematically mapping the structure and influence of the fossil fuel industry in Canada led by Prof. William Carroll (Victoria University).

Previously she was part of a Sino-Dutch research project (2013-2017) on the Transnationalization of China’s Oil Industry funded by Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Social Sciences (KNAW), directed by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and International Institute for Asia Studies (Leiden University).



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

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

I teach courses at BSc and MSc 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 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 - Individual Talent Grant - Institute for Societal Resilience, VU Amsterdam. 

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

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.


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