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Asian Studies

Lee Ann Otto

Associate Dean, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies

Lee Ann Otto, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1984. She is a professor in the department of Political Science and International Relations and has served as the associate dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies since its inauguration in 2007. Otto is also the director of USD’s Masters Program in Peace and Justice Studies. She teaches courses on Chinese politics, Japanese politics, revolutionary change, and the law of the sea at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her research focuses on Chinese policies relating to the war on terror and their impact on Uyghurs and other minority groups within China. She is a former recipient of USD’s University Professorship award.


Ph.D., University of British Columbia, Political Science
M.A., Northern Illinois University, Political Science
B.A., Lawrence University, Government

Scholarly and Creative Work

Otto’s research interests focus on both marine policy and Chinese politics. She has conducted research on the application of international maritime law to the resolution of East Asian maritime disputes. Her interest in marine policy and indigenous peoples led to a study of the effect of globalization on the rights of indigenous peoples in Canada, New Zealand and the United States to offshore fisheries. Currently, China’s policies relating to the war on terror as they impact the Uyghur population in Xinjiang Province and other minority groups in China are the focus of her research. She has presented papers at conferences of the Western Social Sciences Association, the International Studies Association (ISA), ISA/Midwest Region, and the American Political Science Association. She is also a coauthor of Law and Politics in the People’s Republic of China in a Nutshell (1992), an examination of the post-1976 development of China’s legal system.

Teaching Interests

Otto has taught a variety of courses in the areas of comparative politics and international relations. These have included an introductory course in international relations as well as upper division and graduate courses on Chinese and Japanese politics, revolutionary change, law of the sea, and international relations theory. In addition to teaching departmental classes, Otto has participated in team-taught, interdisciplinary freshmen seminars on the impact of science on society and comparative revolutions. She has directed both the proseminar and capstone courses for the Masters Program in Peace and Justice Studies.