COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

Joyce Mao

Associate Professor of History

 work(802) 443-5359
 Fall 2020: Tues 2:00-3:30 pm; Fri 2:00-3:00 pm on Zoom. Please email for an appointment.
 Axinn Center 238

My work focuses on the intersections between American foreign affairs and national politics during the Cold War era, with special attention to US-Asia relations. I am the author of Asia First: China and the Making of Modern American Conservatism (University of Chicago Press, 2015), the first book to look at the imprint of US-China-Taiwan relations upon the American Right after World War II. My research has also appeared in the Journal of American-East Asian Relations. Currently, I am preoccupied with a new set of queries: Why does the Chinese economy inspire such deep emotions – ranging from anxiety to optimism – among all types of Americans? What are the historical foundations of those responses, and what can they tell us about capitalism’s cultural dimensions and the fraught political and economic meanings of “modernity” after WWII? My attempt to answer those questions is a new book project called Porcelain and Steel: China in the American Economic Imagination, which examines how perceptions of Chinese development influenced US grand strategy in Asia during the 1960s and beyond.

Born and (mostly) raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I received my BA, MA, and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. I have been awarded grants and fellowships by the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, the Huntington Library, UC Berkeley, and Middlebury College. At Middlebury, my courses on recent American history explore topics such as the U.S. and the World since 1898, Pacific Rim relations, the Cold War at home and abroad, and American conservatism since the New Deal.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1550 - Chinatown, SF, USA      

Chinatown, SF, USA
This seminar explores the history of San Francisco’s Chinatown from the Gold Rush through the Cold War. As the oldest diasporic enclave of Chinese in the United States, Chinatown has been both a physical site where immigrants of color have built a community and a continually contested symbolic space. Through primary and secondary texts, our examination will engage specifically with Chinatown as a place forged by domestic and international trends, one that illuminates the development of a globalized America. In their final research projects, students will apply these thematic analyses to ethnic communities across the country. 3 hrs. sem. AMR CW HIS

Fall 2019

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HIST 0206 - The United States & the World      

The United States and the World Since 1898
This course serves as an introduction to the history of American foreign relations from the Spanish-American War of 1898 to the turn of the 21st century. Through lectures, discussions, and a variety of readings, we will explore the multi-dimensional nature of the nation's rise to power within the global community, as well as the impact of international affairs upon American society. In addition to formal diplomacy and foreign policy, this course addresses topics such as immigration, cultural exchange, transnationalism, and globalization. 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. AMR HIS NOR

Fall 2016, Spring 2018

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HIST 0215 - America, 1955-1991      

America, 1955-1991
This course focuses on the history of the United States from the end of the “Crucial Decade” until the end of the Cold War. We will pay special attention to how domestic development shaped America's place within the international community, and vice versa. Topics to be considered include: the rise and fall of the post-1945 social welfare state, Eisenhower’s New Look and JFK’s New Frontier, the Vietnam War, civil rights activism, increasing American investment in the Middle East, the modern conservative movement, and globalization and its contexts. (formerly HIST 0368) 2 hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc. AMR HIS NOR

Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2020, Fall 2020

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HIST 0395 - Mad Men and Mad Women      

“Mad Men and Mad Women”
Are you a Don, a Roger, or a Pete? A Betty, a Peggy or a Joan? Using AMC's Mad Men as a visual and narrative foundation, we will examine masculinity and femininity in mid-20th century America. We will focus specifically on the connections between postwar mass communication and formation of gender roles, consumption, and cultural expectations. Our inquiry will then extend to recent discussions regarding the politics of historical representation. In addition to the television series, we will use a variety of both primary and secondary sources—including novels, magazines, sociological studies, and scholarly monographs—to achieve a multi-dimensional perspective. (Not open to students who have taken HIST 1017) 3 hrs. sem. AMR HIS NOR SOC

Spring 2017

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HIST 0397 - America and the Pacific      

America and the Pacific
If the 20th century was "America's Century," then it could also be deemed "America's Pacific Century" as interaction with Asia fundamentally shaped the United States' political, social, and diplomatic development. In this course we will examine American foreign relations on the Pacific Rim from the Philippine-American War to the Los Angeles riots of 1992. Topics to be covered include: America's imperial project in Asia, the annexation of Hawaii, Wilsonian diplomacy, the reconstruction of Japan after World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Richard Nixon's visit to Communist China, and the immigrant experience. 3 hrs sem. AMR HIS NOR

Fall 2017, Fall 2020

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HIST 0435 - Amer Conservatism after 1932      

American Conservatism after 1932: Ideology, Politics, History
“Let’s grow up, conservatives!” was Sen. Barry Goldwater’s dictum at the 1960 Republican convention. Once dismissed as practically extinct, American conservatism became the most enduring political movement of the 20th century. In this seminar we will trace conservative thought and politics from the New Deal era through the contemporary moment, highlighting both domestic and international developments that shaped the modern American right. Students will closely engage with recent scholarly works as well as primary sources such as speeches, magazines, campaign texts, and visual media to effectively understand conservatism’s historical evolution. 3 hrs. sem AMR HIS NOR

Spring 2018, Spring 2020

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HIST 0479 - Pacific Century: China-U.S.      

Pacific Century: Chinese-American Relations, 1898-Present
In this course we will examine the multi-faceted nature of relations between China and the United States from the late 19th century through the present. Topics will include US imperialism in the Pacific, shifting dynamics of American orientalism, wartime diplomacy, the immigrant experience, and varying ways in which Communist China has challenged American military and economic power over the last sixty years. We will pay particular attention to how this “special” relationship shaped each nation’s development relative to the other. In addition to scholarly analyses, course materials will include memoirs, political tracts, travelogues, and Hollywood films. 3 hrs. sem. CMP HIS

Fall 2016

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HIST 0500 - Special Research Projects      

Special research projects may only be taken during the Junior or Senior year, preferable after taking HIST 0600. Approval of department chair and project advisor is required.

Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

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HIST 0700 - Senior Independent Study      

Senior Independent Study
The optional History Senior Thesis is written over two terms, with the final grade applying to both terms. Approval is required. Students submit thesis proposals in the spring before the year that they choose to write their thesis. Students generally begin their thesis in the fall and complete it during winter or spring. Approval is required to begin the thesis in winter or spring. All students must attend the Thesis Writer's Workshops in fall and winter semesters and work with a faculty advisor to complete a 55-70 page paper. Please see detailed guidelines under history requirements.

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021

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Department of History

Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753


Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753