Adam Cathcart

Adam Cathcart


I began my formal studies in East Asian history as a graduate student at Ohio University, where I studied with Donald Jordan (an expert on Republican China and Sino-Japanese conflict), and Shao Dan (an expert on Manchus and borderlands in northeast China). In 1998, I started studying the Chinese language and shortly thereafter began travelling regularly to northeast China and developed an interest in the Korean border region and Chinese borderlands.

My academic interests have largely been shaped by my students and simple chance encounters. I was lucky enough to get into the PRC Foreign Ministry soon after that facility opened in 2006 and produced a number of articles based on those materials, working together with Chuck Kraus and Patricia Nash, both of whom were my students at Hiram College. I have also worked on the topic of war crimes trials from Tokyo to Shenyang, and I continue to work on legacies of Japanese empire in northeast Asia thanks to encouragement from and interaction with Barak Kushner and colleagues in the UK. My interest in the Korean border region with China has grown continuously, with the needs of various audiences dictating a rhythm of production of scholarship, journalism, think-tank reports, and speaking engagements. When Kim Jong-un took power in December 2011, along with Koreanist colleagues, I created an online scholarly portal ( which has been a useful entry point and vehicle for analysis of the Chinese-North Korean relationship.

The arts remain an important part of my life, and I have produced a number of articles on the role of politics in the music of North Korea and China, including 'Death and Transfiguration: The Late Kim Jong-il Aesthetic and North Korean Cultural Production.' with Pekka Korhonen (Popular Music and Society, whose Serge Denisoff Award it won in 2017). Tertiary research interests include Chinese and North Korean cartoons and posters, the CCP's approach to Tibetan history narratives in both film and print, and German-Japanese cultural cooperation in the 1940s. As a cellist, I have premiered and performed Chinese contemporary music in Berlin, Cincinnati, and Chengdu, and have ambitions to someday return to the topic of Western string music and the Chinese Cultural Revolution.


  • Programme Leader for M.A. in Modern History
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