Hsinyen Lai


  • KY16 9AX

    United Kingdom

Personal profile


Hsinyen Lai (賴炘延) was born and raised in Taiwan. He holds BA in Arabic from National Cheng-Chi University (2007), MA in Political Science, with major in International Relations, from National Chung-Cheng University (2010) in Taiwan, MRes (2013) and PhD (2018) in Politics from the University of Edinburgh. In January 2019, he joined the School of International Relations and has been teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He was Managing Editor for the Journal of Mediterranean Politics (2019-2024) and is member of the Foreign Policy Analysis Research Network within the Centre for Security Research (CeSeR) based at the University of Edinburgh.

Research overview

Hsinyen’s research interests mainly lie in international historical sociology and its reflection of nationalism, late-developing state formation, foreign policy, and Cold War history in the Middle East and East Asia. He is currently working on a book manuscript (funded by the National Science and Technology Council, Taiwan) that, through Antonio Gramsci's insights, re-conceptualises the social origins and evolution of Arab nationalism in the Gulf and revisits the role of Arab nationalism in Bahrain's alignment in the 1970s. While developing a new research project on the Chiang Kai-Shek regime's authoritarian alignment during 'the Arab Cold War', he is currently coordinating with Dr Harry Yi-Jui Wu, National Cheng-Kung University (Taiwan) on a 2-year project funded by the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, exploring medical humanitarianism and health diplomacy between Taiwan and Saudi Arabia during the Cold War. With the two ongoing projects, his research interests now include Taiwan's engagement with 'the international' during and after the Cold War, 

He welcomes PhD projects related to his research interests, particularly those using historical sociology, with a regional focus on the Middle East (especially the Gulf) or East Asia (mainly Taiwan) in historical and/or contemporary contexts.

Teaching activity

Hsinyen's undergraduate levels of teaching include

  • IR2005 Theoretical Approaches to International Relations
  • IR2006 Studying International Relations
  • IR3304 The International, Modernity, and Contemporary Gulf Politics
  • IR4601 Political Order and Violence in the Middle East
  • IR4604 Political Islam and International Relations  

He also teaches on the MLitt programme of Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asian Security Studies (MECCASS)

  • IR5534 Contemporary Gulf Politics in a Changing Global Context 


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