Cher Weixia Chen

Cher Weixia Chen

Cher Weixia Chen

Associate Professor

International Studies, Legal Studies, and Social Justice and Human Rights

Dr. Cher Weixia Chen is an Associate Professor in the School of Integrative Studies, the founder of the Human Rights and Global Justice Initiative, a Senior Scholar of the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, and a faculty fellow of the Institute for a Sustainable Earth, George Mason University. Dr. Chen co-developed the undergraduate Social Justice and Human Rights concentration , Social Justice and Human Rights minor, and MAIS Social Justice and Human Rights concentration. She coordinates and teaches courses in the International Studies, Legal Studies, and Social Justice and Human Rights concentrations. Dr. Chen is the recipient of the 2021 Oscar Mentoring Excellence Award.

Dr. Chen’s scholarship focuses on the issues of human rights (particularly the rights of marginalized groups such as women’s rights and indigenous rights) and international and comparative legal studies.

Current Research

  • Project: the well-being of social justice and human rights (SJHR) activists

Selected Publications


Chen, Cher Weixia, Felisa Tibbitts, Jonathan Liljeblad & Petro Du Preez. Interdisciplinary Human Rights in the Global Curriculum (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press).

Chen, Cher Weixia, Graziella P. McCarron, Julie E. Owen & Steve Grande. Activism, Burnout, and Community in Higher Education: Narratives of College Student Activists (forthcoming, Routledge).

Chen, Cher Weixia. Prohibiting Workplace Sexual Harassment: A Cross-Cultural Analysis (forthcoming, Edward Elgar Publishing).

Houghton, Ruth, Aoife O’Donoghue, Yassin Brunger & Cher Weixia Chen (Eds.) Edward Elgar Research Handbook on Global Governance (forthcoming, Edward Elgar Publishing).

Chen, Cher Weixia and Alison Dundes Renteln. International Human Rights: A Survey. Cambridge University Press, 2022.

(Reviewed by McInerney-Lankford, Siobhán. Review of International Human Rights: A Survey, by Cher Weixia Chen & Alison Dundes Renteln. Human Rights Quarterly 45, no. 2 (2023): 342-345. doi:10.1353/hrq.2023.0017.)

Chen, Cher WeixiaCompliance and Compromise: The Jurisprudence of Gender Pay Equity. Brill/Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2011. Reviewed by Jennifer Woodward, in Law and Politics Book Review, available at

Articles and Book Chapters

McCarron, Graziella, Cher Weixia Chen, Jordan April & Isabella LaMagdeleine. “College Student Activists and the Costs and Risks of Activism to Their Well-being: Unpacking Perspectives at a U.S. University.” Journal of American College Health (2024).

McCarron, Graziella, Cher Weixia Chen, Sarah Blanton, Gabriella Guerrieri, Rafaela Lucioni, Ellen Gurung, Anagha Sreevals & Jasmin Enciu. “College Student Activists’ Perceptions of Mattering to Campus Educators. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice (2023). 10.1080/19496591.2023.2201195

Owen, Julie, Graziella McCarron & Cher Weixia Chen.  “Never ‘because of’, always ‘in spite of’: Implications of the CRLL for student social justice activists’ leadership learning”. Journal of Leadership Studies, vol. 16, no. 3, 2022.

Chen, Cher Weixia. Human Rights of International Students in Higher Education: Theory and Practice. In The Ethical University: Transforming Higher Education, edited by Wanda Teays and Alison Dundes Renteln, pp. 229-244. Rowman & Littlefield, 2022.

Gring-Pemble, Lisa and Cher Weixia Chen. “Patriarchy Prevails:  A Feminist Rhetorical Analysis of Equal Pay Discourses”. Women and Language, vol. 41, no. 2, 2018, pp. 79-103.

Chen, Cher Weixia. “Indigenous Rights in International Law.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies. Oxford University Press, 2017; updated 2023.

Gorski, Paul and Cher Weixia Chen. “Frayed All Over:” The Causes and Consequences of Activist Burnout Among Social Justice Education Activists." Educational Studies, vol. 51, no. 5, 2015, pp. 385-405. DOI:10.1080/00131946.2015.1075989.

Chen, Cher Weixia and Paul Gorski. “Burnout in Social Justice and Human Rights (SJHR) Activists: Symptoms, Causes, and Implications." Journal of Human Rights Practice, vol. 7, no. 3, 2015, pp. 366-390. DOI:10.1093/jhuman/huv011.

Chen, Cher Weixia and Mike Gilmore. “Biocultural Rights: A New Paradigm to Protect the Rights of Indigenous Peoples." International Indigenous Policy Journal, vol. 6, no. 3, 2015, pp. 1-19. Retrieved from:

Chen, Cher Weixia. “遵守与妥协 :男女同工同酬的法理学 (The Jurisprudence of Gender Pay Equity)”(in Chinese/Mandarin, translated by Youyiwang & Huijie Zhang). In Social Law Review, edited by Yue Jiang, pp. 256-264. China: Social Sciences Academic Press, 2014.

Chen, Cher Weixia. “Global v. Local: The Issue of Lethal Injection in China." In Global Bioethics and Human Rights: Contemporary Issues, edited by Wanda Teays and Alison Dundes Renteln. Rowan & Littlefield, 1st edition, 2014; 2nd edition, 2020.

Chen, Cher Weixia. “A Critique of ‘Lost of Face’ Arguments in Cultural Defense Cases: A Comparative Study." In Multicultural Jurisprudence: Comparative Perspectives on the Cultural Defense, edited by Marie-Claire Foblets and Alison Dundes Renteln, pp. 247-260. Hart Publishing Co, 2009.

Grants and Fellowships

2024-2025  Cher Weixia Chen (co-investigator, with Beidi Dong/PI, Xiaoquan Zhao & Julie Kim).  Anti-Racism & Inclusive Excellence Seed Funding, GMU 

2023-2024   Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice, University of Ottawa, Canada.

2021-2022   Chen, Cher Weixia (PI, with Graziella Mccarron, Melody Porter & Steve Grande). 4-VA Collaborative Research Grant.

2021   Chen, Cher Weixia. Faculty Research and Development Award. College of Humanities and Social Sciences, GMU.

2020   Chen, Cher Weixia (PI, with Graziella Mccarron & Xiaomei Cai). Office of Undergraduate Education/ Office of the Provost Summer Team Impact Projects Grant, GMU. 

2017   Chen, Cher Weixia. Faculty Research and Development Awards, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, GMU. 

2013-2015   Chen, Cher Weixia (co-PI, with Paul Gorski). Center for Consciousness and Transformation Seed Grant, GMU. 

Courses Taught

INTS 101: Narratives of Identity

INTS 102: Global Networks & Communities

HNRS 260: Women's Rights, Law and Policy
INTS 300: Law and Justice
INTS 303: Introduction to International Studies
INTS 362: Social Justice and Human Rights

INTS 475/575, WMST 600: International Women's Rights, Law and Policy

INTS 540: Contemporary Issues in Social Justice and Human Rights


Ph.D. Politics and International Relations, University of Southern California
M.A. East Asian Studies, University of Southern California
LLM (Master of Laws). National University of Singapore
LLB (Bachelor of Laws). Beijing University, China

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