Evan Dawley

Assistant Professor of History

Van Meter 140


Ph.D., History, Harvard University 2006

M.A., Regional Studies-East Asia, Harvard University, 1998

B.A., History, Oberlin College, 1993

Areas of Scholarly Expertise and Interest

History of East Asia, especially China, Taiwan, and Japan; colonialism; identity; ethnicity and nationalism; maritime territorial disputes.

Recent Publications/Presentations/Performances

The Decade of the Great War: Japan's Interactions with the Wider World in the 1910s, co-editor with Tosh Minohara and Tze-ki Hon, Brill, forthcoming 2014

"Expanding Japan: Reforming Society through Social Work in Colonial Taiwan," in Tumultuous Decade: Japan's Challenge to the International System, 1931-1941, edited by Masato Kimura and Tosh Minohara, University of Toronto Press, 2013

"The Question of Identity in Recent Scholarship on the History of Taiwan," review essay, The China Quarterly, June 2009

"A Region of Localities: Taiwanese Social Workers in Japan's Empire" Annual Conference of the Association of Asian Studies, San Diego, CA, March 2013

Presentation for Roundtable on "World War II and War Crimes in the Pacific Region: Law, History, and Diplomacy" Annual Conference of the Association of Asian Studies, Toronto, CA, March 16, 2012

Funded Research

Chiu Scholarly Exchange Program for Taiwan Research, Summer 2013

Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Finishing Fellowship, 2005

Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies Supplementary Dissertation Grant, 2004

Fulbright IIE Research Fellowship for Taiwan and Japan, 2003


Evan Dawley followed a lengthy path to Goucher College, where he happily arrived in 2013. After graduating from Oberlin College, he went to experience China firsthand as an English teacher, an experience that confirmed his interests in the country and, after a brief detour through the kitchen of an Italian restaurant, led him to pursue a degree in East Asian Studies and a brief career in international education, leading teaching programs in Shanghai and Yantai for WorldTeach. Those experiences in turn brought him back to academia and the pursuit of a Ph.D. in Chinese history. A summer language program in Taiwan had sparked his curiosity about the peculiar history and identities of that island, which prompted him to focus his dissertation research on the process of ethnic identity formation in Taiwan during the period of Japanese colonization (1895-1945) and early Nationalist Chinese rule (1945-1948). He is revising this manuscript for publication.

Upon completing his Ph.D., he found a unique opportunity to work for the Office of the Historian at the U.S. State Department, where he spent seven years providing policy-relevant historical information and analysis on U.S.-East Asian relations, and the history of Asian territorial disputes, to Department officials; and coordinating the teaching of U.S. diplomatic history to new Foreign Service Officers. Through all of this time, his primary interests remained in the teaching and study of East Asia, so he served for several semesters as an adjunct professor at The George Washington University and Georgetown University, and spent one year as a Visiting Professor at Reed College (2010-2011).