Joyce Mao

Associate Professor of History

 work(802) 443-5359
 Spring 2018: Mondays 11:00 am - 12:00 pm and Thursdays 2:00 - 4:00 pm, or by appointment
 Axinn Center at Starr Library 238

Joyce Mao has taught at Middlebury since 2008. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, she received her B.A., M.A., and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. She specializes in recent American history, offering courses on the U.S. and the World since 1898, Pacific Rim relations, and Cold War topics. Her research interests lie at the intersection of foreign affairs and national politics. Prof. Mao's work has appeared in the Journal of American-East Asian Relations, and the University of Chicago press recently released her book, Asia First: China and the Making of Modern American Conservatism (June 2015). Two new projects are underway: one on W.W. Rostow’s modernization theory and its relationship to the People’s Republic of China; the other on the diplomacy of U.S. immigration policy after 1945.




Course List: 

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

FYSE 1452 - 1906 SF Earthquake & Fire      

Urban Disaster: The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake & Fire
On April 18, 1906, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked San Francisco. Although the trembling lasted only about 60 seconds, its aftershocks – including a devastating fire that leveled much of the city – were felt for significantly longer. Using scholarly readings as well as a mix of primary sources such as photographs, maps, letters, and memoirs, students in this seminar will examine the 1906 earthquake and fire from an historical perspective. We will use this episode of urban disaster and reconstruction as a lens to understand the built and natural environment, Progressive politics, and race relations in America at the beginning of the 20th century. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR

Fall 2015

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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

Spring 2015, 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

Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2017, Fall 2017

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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

Spring 2015, Fall 2017

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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

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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 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

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HIST 0600 - History Research Seminar      

Writing History
In this course students discuss historical methods and writing strategies to create convincing historical narratives. With the approval and guidance of the professor, students complete a 20-25-page research paper based on primary and secondary sources. Students take this course in their junior year or if they are away for the entire junior year in the fall of their senior year. 3 hr. sem

Fall 2014

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HIST 0700 - Senior Independent Study      

The History Senior Thesis is required of all majors. It is written over two terms, with the final grade applying to both terms. The project is generally begun in the fall and completed during winter or spring. Approval is required to begin the thesis in winter or spring, and such students must still attend the Thesis Writer's Workshops that take place in fall and winter.

Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019

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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
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753