Lan Chu’s research and teaching interests focus on the political role of religious institutions, the Catholic Church and global politics, faith diplomacy, religion and international relations theory, inter-religious dialogue, political ideologies (theory and practice), and the political liberalization processes of former and existing communist countries. Her work has been published in Politics and Religion, Democratization, Journal of Vietnamese Studies, CPD Perspectives on Faith Diplomacy, East European Politics and Societies, and BBC News. She has contributed chapters to Local Organizations and Urban Governance in East and Southeast Asia (Routledge Press, 2009), Religion and Public Diplomacy (Palgrave, 2013), and The Global Future of Religion: Probing into Issues of Religion and Religiosity in the Postmodern World (International Peace Studies Centre, 2013). In 2016, she edited a special section for the Journal of Vietnamese Studies titled, “The Vietnamese American Diaspora Since 1975” and her work was reprinted in Religion and Politics (IDEA Press, 2013) and the journal Islamic Perspective (2013).
Currently, she is working on a research project that examines the Catholic Church’s position on global issues. She theorizes how this amounts to an unofficial foreign policy on matters of conflict, peace, climate change, and migration. Applying a constructivist framework to characterize the Catholic Church as a norm entrepreneur, she focuses on how religious institutions can help reorient the way in which state and non-state actors approach international dilemmas (Routledge Press). She also is working on two projects focusing on religion and citizenship in the United State (Routledge Press) and religious freedom in Vietnam (Brill Press).
Professor Chu has received a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, was a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Southern California, and served on the Executive Council of the Western Political Science Association (2018-2021). Currently, she is a Country Expert for the University of Gothenburg’s Varieties of Democracy Project (2012-Present) and is on the editorial board of the journal Politics, Groups, and Identities. In 2022, she was the recipient of Oxy's Linda & Tod White Teaching Prize and appointed Faculty Director for Equity and Justice.