Rachel Hulvey

Rachel Hulvey

Ph.D. Candidate in International Relations


Rachel Ann Hulvey is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania with research interests broadly spanning Chinese foreign policy, soft power, and international order.

Explaining changes in international order is one of the most important and enduring topics of international relations (Waltz 1979; Wendt 1999). Her dissertation, Attraction: How China’s World Order Gains Followers, takes up this task by examining China’s rise and influence on world order. As China seeks to shift the status quo, would some countries support the Beijing-led vision of international order, and, if so, which?

As China rises, nowhere is great power competition for developing international order more active than cyberspace. But rather than the contest for control playing out on the battlefield, great powers compete to mobilize support in “a competition about whose story wins.” To attract support for developing new rules and institutions among United Nations members, President Xi Jinping directs officials to cultivate “discourse power” and the “right to speak” (huayu quan) on the world stage. Such investments in discourse power include a focus on rhetoric and discursive strategies meant to attract and persuade. China strategically draws from sovereignty – a widely held and foundational value of statehood – to attract followers for China’s vision of order in cyberspace. 

Rachel is a recipient of the American Political Science Foundation’s Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (2021-2023) and the Foreign Language Area Studies Awardfor Mandarin and East Asian study (2021-2022). Her research benefits from generous support from the University of Pennsylvania’s Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics and the Center for the Study of Contemporary China. She is a Carr Center Technology and Human Rights Fellow (2019-2022) and a Schmidt Futures International Strategy Forum Fellow (2022-2023).

CV (file)