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Drawer 25



216 Landrum Bolling Center

Wayne Soon

Assistant Professor of History


  • History
  • Japanese Studies
  • Chinese Studies
  • East Asian Studies


  • Ph.D. Princeton University
  • B.A. Carleton College

Selected Courses

HIST 265 – Modern China

This course examines the history of China’s recent past from the seventeenth century to the present. Themes covered in this course include political changes, social realities, intellectuals and the state, foreign diplomacy, material culture, gender relations, economic development, revolutions and rebellions, religion and society, as well as the role of film and literature in history. Students will analyze such themes through the myriad voices of political leaders, activists, intellectuals, students, workers, filmmakers, and poets. Students will relate the variety of primary sources with the interpretations offered by various secondary sources. Therefore, students are expected to develop skills to analyze key historical moments against broader historiographical contexts.

HIST 218 – World War II in East Asia

The Second World War was transformative for Japan and China. At its height of conquest, the Japanese Empire ruled over more than 130 million people. Japan’s military, economy, and territories grew tremendously even as it struggled to deal with wartime controversies. China became one of the Big Four Allied Powers as state building and resistance persisted in unoccupied areas. This course will explore the key question of how the Second World War shaped the everyday lives of Chinese, Japanese, and foreigners in East Asia and the world. In addition, students will explore the reasons for and the nature of major events in the war – including the Nanjing massacre, the Chinese resistance to and collaboration with the Japanese, Japan’s wartime mobilization, the role of science and technology in war-making, the gendered and racial underpinnings of wartime labor, the rise of the Chinese Communist Party, and the U.S. government’s decision to release atomic bombs in Japan.


Wayne Soon is a historian of modern China and East Asia, with a particular interest in how international ideas and practices of medicine, institutional building, and diaspora have shaped the region’s interaction with its people and the world in the twentieth century.

Professional Memberships

Association for Asian Studies

American Historical Association

American Association for the History of Medicine

Society for the History of Technology

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