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Matthew David Johnson
- transnational relations of the Communist Party of China
- U.S. foreign policy in East Asia
- propaganda, communications, and wartime mobilization
- Grinnell and Grinnellians in Asia, including biographies of Katayama Sen (co-founder of the Communist Party of Japan) and Wu Guozhen (former mayor of Chongqing and Shanghai, and an influential Republic of China politician)
- grassroots society and politics in China between 1949 and 1976
- the history of visual culture in modern China
- "iGeneration" cinema, independent filmmaking, and documenting government reform in the contemporary PRC
I am a scholar of communications as a political and social force, with expertise in the fields of modern history, contemporary history, comparative politics, war and society, and China/East Asia. My research and teaching focus on four interrelated issues: the impact of war in East Asia; the historical origins and geography of China's contemporary "propaganda state"; U.S.-China international and transnational relations; how contemporary narratives concerning China are produced, circulated, and consumed.
I hold the position of Assistant Professor of East Asian History at Grinnell College, and am currently an academic visitor at the University of Oxford China Centre. I am a former Jacob K. Javits and U.S. Fulbright fellow. From 2008 to 2010 at the University of Oxford I was departmental lecturer in the History and Politics of Modern China, and an affiliated researcher with the Leverhulme Trust-funded China's War with Japan Programme directed by Professor Rana Mitter. I have served as faculty chair of the Grinnell College Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) Program, and as faculty advisor for study abroad in the Republic of Korea.
I have professional experience in the areas of international education, research, and scholarly communication. In 2011 I became a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations. My applied interests also include higher education policy and international capacity-building in the public and private sectors.
TEACHING AND STUDENT MENTORING
My priority at Grinnell College is undergraduate teaching, mentoring, and directed research. I am available to work with students on a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) on any of the following topics:
Topics of past mentored projects include: online politics in the People's Republic of China; North Korean history and strategic thought prior to the Korean War; the geography of economic in-migration in Southwest China; intra-regional migration and globalization in the Asia-Pacific.
I welcome new advisees.
RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS
I am currently engaged in collaborative research and editing projects related to:
In addition, I am working on a dissertation-based manuscript titled The Most Important Art: Motion Pictures as Political Communication in China, 1897-1993