Frank Maracchione (he/him)

Department of Politics and International Relations

PhD research student

Non-resident fellow at Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs, Co-convener of Doctoral Research Network at SPERI - Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute

Profile image for PhD student Frank Maracchione
Profile picture of Profile image for PhD student Frank Maracchione

Full contact details

Frank Maracchione
Department of Politics and International Relations
Modular Teaching Village - PGR Room
Modular Teaching Village
Northumberland Road
S10 1AJ

Frank Maracchione is a PhD candidate of the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Sheffield and co-convener of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI)’s Doctoral Researchers Network. He is a recipient of an ESRC White Rose Pathway Award for his PhD project that investigates Chinese global influence through the case study of Uzbekistan. His work critiques the idea of a unitary and unchangeable Chinese model of international cooperation by focussing on Uzbekistan’s agency and its relations with the People’s Republic of China. His area of interest includes the agency of developing countries in the global political economy, non-Eurocentric (and non-Sinocentric) IR, Chinese foreign policy and foreign aid (particularly in Central Asia and along the Belt and Road), together with Central Asian politics and international relations with a focus on Uzbekistan.

He holds an MA in Social Research from the University of Sheffield, an MA in International Relations from the University of Bologna and a BA in Chinese language, culture and society from the Ca' Foscari University of Venice. He was also a visiting research student at the Renmin University of China in Beijing (Autumn 2016), where he conducted research for his master’s thesis on counterterrorism in Xinjiang and Central Asia, at George Washington University (January-April 2022) in Washington DC where he worked on his PhD with experts from the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, and at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent during fieldwork for his PhD research project. He collaborates with the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs in Washington DC and with Global Partners Governance in London on projects connected with China’s role in Central Asia. He wrote commentaries and reviews for ISPI - Italian Institute for International Politics, Observatory for Central Asia and the Caspian Sea, Eurasian Business Dispatch, Asian Affairs, the SPERI Blog and Geography Directions.

  • MA Social Research - University of Sheffield
  • MA International Relations - University of Bologna
  • BA Chinese Language, Culture and Society - Ca' Foscari University of Venice
Research interests

Brief summary of PhD project:

His PhD project tries to contribute to the understanding of Chinese global interactions by investigating the significance of China’s role in Uzbekistan. The main purpose of the research is to understand Chinese stable relations with Uzbekistan throughout the last two decades (2001-2021), as opposed to more fluctuant and fragile Uzbekistani relations with other great powers, particularly Russia and the United States. His research critiques the idea of unitary, unchangeable, and conflictual sets of Western and Chinese values, and maintains the need for empirical research on the role of Chinese values and ideational influence, well defined in time and space. The project also represents a methodological innovation as it nests one of the most recent quantitative document analysis techniques, the Structural Topic Model (STM), into a qualitative process-tracing framework.

Other research interests:

• Agency of developing countries in international development cooperation and global political economy
• Non-Western IR and non-Sinocentric China studies
• Chinese foreign policy, foreign aid, investment, and international cooperation
• Central Asian international relations, politics (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan)
• Quantitative text analysis (Structural Topic Model)


Journal articles

Research group

International relations

Political Economy Research Group (PERG)


1+3 PhD Studentship (2019-2023)
Awarding body: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Teaching interests

Frank has taught modules related to politics and International Relations, as well as Asia studies. His second focus in teaching is more practical and related to data visualisation in quantitative research methods. His approach is rooted in his interdisciplinary training in area studies and international relations, as well as interaction between acedemic and policy research.

Teaching activities
  • The World’s Wicked Problems POL126
  • Analysing Politics POL120
  • Data Visualisation SMI105
  • Contemporary Chinese Business and Management EAS6347/EAS6447
Professional activities and memberships

Non-resident fellow at Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs, Member of the Board of Directors of the Italian Association for Studies on Central Asia and the Caucasus and of their academic journal.